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Posted 12 days ago



American business professional and New York admitted attorney offers corporate English training by ZOOM or Whatsapp for business professionals in Dubai.

Themes explored in this intensiveBUSINESS ENGLISH DUBAI 20 hour training (2 hours per week) include:


This course does not teach you how to be a leader or manager. Rather, this training is strictly about helping you improve your ENGLISH language skills for professional purposes.

We explore these topics in English with the assumption that you have already mastered these concepts in your own language and are looking to perfect or polish your English within these domains so that you can attain a competitive advantage in the International marketplace. We assume you are already an expert in your own right.

We will:

Read articles
Acquire and use new vocabulary
Practice writing Emails
and engage in conversation during our training. The goal is to get you to gain confidence when you speak in English.

This BUSINESS ENGLISH DUBAI training is a package deal for up to 5 participants by ZOOM.

We encourage companies and corporate entities to participate as well as co-workers and colleagues in the same organization.

We are based in Paris. Payments will be by bank transfer.

Please respond to this email for more details.

ENGLISH LESSONS BRUSSELS (Cour d’anglais Bruxelles)

ENGLISH LESSONS BRUSSELS (Cour d’anglais Bruxelles)

English for professionals in Brussels

Are you looking to improve your English so that you can work in an International Environment?

I think I have the solution:


Are you looking for an English coach in Brussels to give you English lessons? IS WORKING BY PHONE OKAY WITH YOU?


We believe that learning English by telephone will help you improve much faster than face to face.

And think about it, most business-related communication that is conducted internationally, is exchanged by telephone.

Emails are important too, but it is about telephone communication for a lot of professional people.

If you are not able to understand what your counterpart is saying on the telephone, you are not going to seem very competent.

Our program relies on ENGLISH CONVERSATION by phone to help you learn quicker. It takes out all the other distractions and you just focus on communicating in English.

No books, no homework, no useless grammar exercises. Just talk. Talk. Talk in English till you are fluent like native.

Answer this post with your contact details.

Follow us on Instagram @businessenglishparis


COURS D’ANGLAIS BRUXELLES (Cour d’anglais Bruxelles)

Anglais pour professionnels à Bruxelles

Cherchez-vous à améliorer votre anglais afin de pouvoir travailler dans un environnement international?

Je pense avoir la solution:


Vous recherchez un coach anglais à Bruxelles pour vous donner des cours d’anglais? TRAVAILLEZ PAR TÉLÉPHONE OK AVEC VOUS?


Nous pensons que l’apprentissage de l’anglais par téléphone vous aidera à vous améliorer beaucoup plus rapidement qu’en face à face.

Et pensez-y, la plupart des communications liées aux affaires qui sont menées à l’échelle internationale sont échangées par téléphone.

Les e-mails sont également importants, mais il s’agit de communications téléphoniques pour de nombreux professionnels.

Si vous n’êtes pas en mesure de comprendre ce que votre homologue dit au téléphone, vous ne semblerez pas très compétent.

Notre programme s’appuie sur la CONVERSATION ANGLAISE par téléphone pour vous aider à apprendre plus rapidement. Il élimine toutes les autres distractions et vous vous concentrez uniquement sur la communication en anglais.

Pas de livres, pas de devoirs, pas d’exercices de grammaire inutiles. Parle juste. Parler. Parlez en anglais jusqu’à ce que vous parliez couramment le natif.

Répondez à ce message avec vos coordonnées.

Suivez-nous sur Instagram @businessenglishpari





There are two basic ways to greet someone in English: the formal way and the informal way.  The choice is up to you. You have to make a judgment call about what kind of situation you are in and what form of greeting would be appropriate.



A. Use these for example, when meeting a business colleague or partner

  1. Hello, it is my pleasure to meet you…..
  2. Hello, good to see you again….
  3. Hello, good morning. How are you today?……
  4. Good Morning………
  5. Good morning! How are you?…..
  6. Good morning it’s so good to see you!
  7. Good Morning, sorry to keep you waiting.
  8. Good morning, sorry I am a little bit late….

B. Use these at a business conference or other business meeting

  1. Hello, I’m Steven Giles. Nice to meet you.
  2. Good morning everyone!
  3. Good evening. I am Edgar Poe. I will be your host for this evening…
  4. Good day everyone. Thank you all for coming.
  5. Good Afternoon… Nice to see you all.

C. Use these for example when speaking with a receptionist on the phone or in person

  1. Hello…..this is Matthew Sturm. May I speak with John Waters?
  2. Hello, I am John. I am here to see Mr Koon.
  3. Hello, good morning. May I speak with Ms Arnold?
  4. Good morning. I am looking for Jeff Goldblum? Is he available?
  5. Hello, I am David West. With whom am I speaking?
  6. Good afternoon, I am Sonya. I am here to see Mr Peterson.

D. Use these when you are in an unfamiliar situation and you need some help.

  1. Good afternoon. Can you tell me how to find the Metro please?
  2. Good evening, I am here for the reception… Can you point me to the right room please?
  3. Good evening, can you tell me how to get to Saint Paul?
  4. Excuse me, Sir, but can you tell me how to get to the city center?

E. Use these for example when writing an email

  1. Dear John, How are you? I was wondering if…
  2. Good morning Ms Shaw, I am writing to inform you that…
  3. Sandra, I would like to introduce you to our new marketing director…




Hi, how are you?
Hi there!…..
Hi again……..
Hi, I am Jack. Nice to meet you…..
Hi, sorry to keep you waiting….

Hey there!….! How are you?
Hey girl!…..
Hey lady………..what’s up?
Hey man!………….
Hey, what’s up?….



  1. Hello, How are you?
    2. Hello, How’s it going?
    3. Hello! Nice to see you!
    4. Hello! Welcome!
    5. Hello! You look great! How was your weekend?
    6. Hello, can I offer you something to drink while you wait?
    7. Hello, I am Barbara.
    8. Hello, how delightful to see you again!


  1. I’m fine, thank you, and you?
    2. I’m good. What about you?
    3. Superb. And you?
    5. Great. And you? How was your weekend?
    6. It’s going. And you?
    7. Nice to see you too. The weekend was great. What about you?
    8. I’m Isabella. Nice to meet you.
    9. The pleasure is all mine (if they say “it’s nice to meet you.”)




1. What do you understand by “spirituality” , Do you consider it important for people to have a “spiritual” life?
2. Have you ever broken the law and if so what happened? (Ever been arrested?)
3. Which animal do you think is the most fascinating and why?
4. If you could come back as an animal in your next life and you could choose, which one would you choose?
5. Who is your favorite author and which of their books was your favorite and why?
6. Do you like seafood? Talk about the various types and which ones you like best and least.
7. What are your favorite fruits and how often do you indulge?
8. What about your favorite vegetables?
9. What do you think about people who say they don’t eat meat? And how do you prefer to prepare your meats?
10. Which do you prefer: wine, beer or champagne and why?
11. What do you know about the artist Toulouse Lautrec?
12. Where in the world do you most wish you could be right now?
13. If money weren’t an issue what would you be doing right now?
14. Other than over the counter medications, have you ever tried recreational drugs? Which ones?
15. What’s your greatest obsession?
16. Would you say you feel more like a dominating person or a dominated person?
17. Why do you love your job?
18. What is the one character trait you absolutely cannot tolerate in others?
19. Do you have any enemies? If so, why did this person become your enemy?
20. Are there any circumstances that you can contemplate committing murder?

Business English: Questions for International Negotiators


1. How Important is it in your opinion to do research on the cultural background of the person you will be negotiating with?
2. How are negotiators from different countries and cultures different in your opinion?
3. Have you ever had a “crisis” situation come up when negotiating across cultures? How did you resolve it?
4. Have you ever had to negotiate with someone from a different culture that made you feel “disrespected”?
5. Has your own culture (country or company) ever been a problem in a negotiation?
6. What do you think is/are the most important element(s) of dealmaking in the 21st Century
7. Do you think “reciprocity” is important in negotiation? Is it more important in some countries than others in your view?
8. Do you believe that only a written contract at the end of a negotiation binds you or your company? Or could you incur obligations just based on a discussion and handshake?
9. When should you (or have you) walked away from a negotiation?
10. When is it appropriate in your view to go above the person you are negotiating with to find someone of higher authority to make a deal?
11. How do you personally deal with “difficult” negotiators?
12. What are the secrets to your most successful deals?
13. What lessons did you learn from deals that fell through?
14. Have you studied other negotiators in your field? What do you think makes an effective negotiator?
15. Which countries have the most unreliable negotiators in your experience?
16. How does your company typically settle disputes when negotiations and deals fall apart?
17. What do you think you still need to learn or improve to be a more effective negotiator?


transitive and intransitive verbs

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in English

ESL Learners Can struggle with Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in English: But there Might Be a Way to Easily figure out the difference


Transitive and intransitive verbs can give ESL learners major headaches. Half the time, though, many don’t even  realize they are making a big mistake. But even  when they know they are making a mistake but they  don’t know the rule, it can be very frustrating.

It’s all about OBJECTS and knowing when you need them and when you don’t.

How do you know which verbs need an object and which verbs do not need an object in English? At first blush it is not easy to tell as there are no clear rules. English verbs that have more than one meaning can be especially tricky because sometimes the word/verb is transitive and sometimes it is intransitive. For example the verb “to fold.” This verb has about 13 different meanings! Some of the applications of this verb takes an object (which makes it transitive) and others do not.

Look at the following applications of the verb “to fold”

  1. I folded the laundry. (This is transitive – it needs object) What is the meaning? It means “I bent the clothes and fabrics that I washed.”

2.  He folded. (This is intransitive- does not need object) What is the meaning? It means “He gave up.”

Why do you need to know the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs? Because not knowing the different between transitive and intransitive verbs results in grammatically incorrect sentences that either sound funny or just flat out makes no sense. For example, if you said “I sent.” This is supposed to be a sentence but it is incomplete and does not make perfect sense. Because the person listening does not know what you sent or who you sent.

But just so that you will be totally confused about transitive and intransitive verbs in English, the vast majority of verbs can be both transitive and intransitive depending on the context in which they are used (like the verb “to fold.”)

So what are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to figure this out?!

Well, there are a couple of tricks you can try though they are not foolproof.

1). First, accept that you will have to try to memorize quite a bit in this domain, and you will have to depend on your experience with the language over time to become used to which verbs need an object.

2). But there could be an even better way to figure it out. Ask yourself "who or what does the verb relate to?" Is it a noun? If there is an answer and it is a noun, the verb is TRANSITIVE. Example:  "Sam eats meat." Ask "who or what does Sam eat?" Sam eats meat. So "meat" is a noun and it therefore an object of the verb "eat." So in this example, the verb "eat" is TRANSITIVE (in this sentence - because note that in other sentences the verb "eat could be intransitive).

3). If you are still not sure if the verb is transitive or intransitive, ask yourself how or where is the verb? This will help you to confirm that there if there is an object or not. If there is an answer to  one of these two questions, the verb is INTRANSITIVE. 

Consider the following sentence: "Sam runs slowly." Ask "how does Sam run"? Sam runs slowly. 

Consider also the following sentence: "Sam is running in the park." Where is Sam running? He is running in the park. 
Who or what is Sam running? There is no answer. 
So the verb "run" is INTRANSITIVE (in this sentence), therefore, and does not need an object. 

3). Another way to tell if the verb needs an object or not is to use your ears. If it sounds funny, something is probably missing or wrong. 

4). Finally, the best option if you are not sure might be to simply check the dictionary which will usually indicate "T" for transitive or "I" for Intransitive next to the verb.


As a general rule, intransitive (often followed by prepositional phrases, adverbs, adjectives, or complements) do not need an object.

  • The woman behaved badly.
  • The woman looks nice.
  • The dog is happy.
  • The child plays in the puddle.


Consider the following sentences which are grammatically complete in English:

  1. I ate. I ate hungrily. (intransitive)
  2. I bathed. I bathed in milk.(intransitive)
  3. I believed. I believed nothing. (intransitive)
  4. I drank. I drank in the bar. (intransitive)
  5. I exploded. I exploded at him. (intransitive)
  6. I fell. I fell in the water. (intransitive)
  7. I worked. I worked for it. (intransitive)
  8. I stopped. I stopped laughing. (intransitive)
  9. I shopped. I shopped till I dropped. (intransitive)
  10. I swam. I swam in the river. (intransitive probably in every context)

In the sentences above, there is just a SUBJECT and a VERB in the first version. Even after adding a phrase or complement in the second version, there is still no object because there is not “who” or “what.”. It means that each of these verbs is INTRANSITIVE. In English, a verb that is  intransitive is a verb that is not followed by an object but yet, completes a sentence in a grammatically correct way.



By contrast, there are verbs in English that MUST BE FOLLOWED BY an object in order for the sentence to express a complete thought, and in order for the sentence to be grammatically correct and make sense.

Consider the 10 examples below:

  1. I sold. I sold it. It sold quickly.
  2. I kissed.  I kissed him. We kissed in the movie theatre.
  3. I sent. I sent her.
  4. I want. I want it.
  5. I carry. I carry a concealed weapon.
  6. I terminated. I terminated the interview.
  7. I opened. I opened the door.
  8. I hear. I hear music.
  9. I shamed. I shamed the clerk.
  10. I folded (?). I folded the laundry.
  11. I gave. I gave them food.
  12. I imagine (?). I imagine the worst.

In each of these examples, the first sentence is incomplete because the listener will be wondering what or whom you are talking about. For example, in English, you can’t just say (under normal circumstances) “I sold.” This is not a complete sentence. Something is missing. The person who is listening to you will ask, “sold what?” What did you sell? To whom did you sell it? This is because the verb “to sell” is TRANSITIVE. It is a verb in transition. It is not a complete idea without an OBJECT attached. The object will answer the questions “who,” “whom,” or “what.” In the second sentence, the questions “who” “whom” or “what” is answered.


At the same time, one could argue that the verb “to kiss” is sometimes intransitive, and the verb “to drink” can be transitive. Consider for example, “I drank rum.” Or, “we kissed.” No object is needed in the latter whereas “rum” (while not needed to form a complete thought) is the object in the former. So depending on the context, a verb can be be either transitive or intransitive.

Consider the verb “to give.” Is this verb transitive or intransitive? Arguably, it would normally be transitive. Something else needs to be said for it to make sense in most circumstances. If you say to someone “I gave” the natural response might be “gave what?” Or, “give who?” “Gave who?” “Gave what”? Something is missing and the sentence is incomplete because the verb “to give” is TRANSITIVE. It needs an object – probably always

Note: Transitive verbs are followed by nouns or noun clauses and not be prepositions or state verbs. So for example, in the sentence “I can hear the birds singing.” The subject is “I” and the verb is “can hear.” The object is “the birds” so the verb “to hear” is TRANSITIVE.

By contrast, consider the sentence “I swam in the lake.” Here, the subject is “I” and the verb is “swam.” The prepositional phrase “in the lake” is not an object. So the verb “to swim” is INTRANSITIVE. It does not need an object. The same is true for all the verbs on the first set of verbs on this page.



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Sponsored Content


Philippe Léglise-Costa
Paris, France

The spread of English as a lingua franca (a language used by speakers of different languages as a common language of communication) continues to gain traction around the world. But not without opposition in some very high places. Recently,  French ambassador Philippe Léglise-Costa not only objected to the English only policy in the European council, he actually stormed out of a meeting in angry protest, according to published reports, to wit,

France’s EU ambassador on Wednesday walked out of a diplomatic meeting after the Council decided to use only English-language translation in a new working group on the EU’s long-term budget.

Philippe Léglise-Costa, the French EU ambassador, stormed out of the Coreper meeting on the Multiannual Financial Framework after refusing to sign off on a Council Secretariat decision that asked representatives of other EU countries to agree on using English for the group’s meetings, according to several participants.

While French is still one of the official working languages of the EU, its influence has been on the wane recently, given that English has emerged as a common language in not just diplomacy, but also in most domains that require communication between people of different native tongues.

Was Ambassador Philippe Léglise-Costa right to object to this blatant omission on the part of the Council to provide a translation in French? Or did he over-react? Isn’t the whole point of English being a global lingua franca that people of different linguistic traditions need a common language in which to communicate? That language did not have to be English, but it just so happens that it is English. Why should the other countries accept English in lieu of their own native languages, if the French ambassador refuses to accept that he cannot have a translation in French while everyone else has to make do with English? In other words, could the other countries also insist on a translation in their own native languages as well? Is it fair that only French and English translations are provided?

EU states total 28 nation states, to wit (from

Austria Italy
Belgium Latvia
Bulgaria Lithuania
Croatia Luxembourg
Cyprus Malta
Czech Republic Netherlands
Denmark Poland
Estonia Portugal
Finland Romania
France Slovakia
Germany Slovenia
Greece Spain
Hungary Sweden
Ireland United Ki

The EU region is one of the world’s most multilingual. Each of these 28 states have a language of their own – though English is taught as a second language in most of these countries. If each nation insisted on having their language be a working language of the council, the costs of translating documents would quickly become prohibitive.

Multilingualism and francophony aside, it appears that  French ambassador Philippe Léglise-Costa did not have universal support for his actions on the Council. Some argued that he had acted a bit unreasonably under the circumstances:

Léglise-Costa raised his voice against the Council decision, arguing that France was defending “multilingualism as well as Francophony,” particularly within a group that would be discussing billions of euros in revenues and spending, the European diplomat said.

On the other hand,  perhaps the Ambassador, who was described by some diplomats in attendance as having “over-reacted” can be excused for feeling like his language and culture was being usurped and rendered irrelevant by English – lingua franca or no lingua franca.

France along with Germany does bear a disproportionate financial responsibility for spending in and for the region, and thus can be excused for insisting that the French language is given the same deference and respect as English – or at least more deference and respect that some of those others who are newer to the group and who bear considerably less of its financial burdens. It certainly  is not a clear cut situation from a diplomatic and international relations perspective. Whether Ambassador Léglise-Costa succeeds at defending “multilingualism and francophony,” and restoring the position of the French language before the EU Council remains to be seen.

The only thing that is clear that English has become a common language of communication for the international community today and in order not to be left behind, people need to learn English for their own personal and professional development.

At ELG, we stand ready to assist you with achieving your English language acquisition goals.



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In English, there are many different types of pronouns (this includes distributive pronouns like "all, "negative pronouns like "no one" and impersonal pronouns like "someone") but in fact these can be re-categorized into larger groups as there are 8 major categories of English pronouns.

What are pronouns? English Pronouns replace nouns in a sentence. Virtually any noun can be replaced by a pronoun in English. But it does matter which pronoun you use. You cannot just employ any pronoun you want. The placement of the pronoun in the sentence and the function it serves will determine which pronoun is appropriate.


Subject pronouns replace nouns which are subjects in the sentence. So nouns that function as the subject can be replaced by a subject pronoun. The subject pronouns are:

I……………………..  I have a toothache.

You……………….  You don’t have a toothache, do you?

He……………….  He had a toothache while the president of France was visiting him.

She…………… She has never had a toothache

It…………….  It does not have teeth.

We…………. we took him to the dentist because he had a missing tooth.

They………. They have never been to the dentist and thus they have no teeth.


The object pronoun is an object of the verb or preposition it precedes or follows.  (Direct objects usually follow the verb and indirect objects usually follow the preposition).

Me……….. Hervé gave me the job.

you …………….Did she tell you about the job requirements?

her……………. You should tell her to audition for the job.

him……………Would you hire him for this job if he were the only candidate?

it…………. The interviewer showed it to me and said, “this is why this job is so tricky.”

us……… The recruiter sent emails to us and said the President’s entire cabinet had quit and that he desperately needed to hire new staff.

them……. The president gave them the option to resign.


You use reflexive pronouns when the subject and object are the same. (Note that reflexive pronouns are distinct from  intensive pronouns. For example, “I, myself, sewed these curtains” is intensive, not reflective. Why? Because “myself” is used only to “intensify” the subject “I.” It is not integral to the sentence. On the other hand, reflexive pronouns are integral to the sentence and if removed, the meaning of the sentence is lost.

myself………I love myself.

Yourself……….You should love yourself enough not to take drugs.

Herself………..It is incredible that she did that to herself.

Himself…………….He loves himself too much; he is a narcissist.

Itself………….Look! It bathes itself with its tongue.

Ourselves………….We have to protect ourselves.

Themselves…………….They are the culprits and can only blame themselves for this.


The relative pronoun is used to add additional information about the noun in the sentence (subject or object)

That………… This is the girl that won the lottery.

Who……………The man  who won the lottery, whose jackpot was one billion dollars, was homeless.

Which…………….. The house, which is white, sold for two million dollars.

Whom……….. The man whom you despise is a billionaire.

Whose……..The boy whose bike was stolen is the grandson of Vladimir Putin.


Interrogative pronouns are used exclusively to ask questions about nouns in the sentence. Interrogative pronouns are also relative pronouns. All are “WH” words. But not every “WH” word is an interrogative pronoun. And not all relative pronouns are interrogative pronouns either. Some are adverbs. There are 5 interrogative pronouns in English.  They are: who, whom, whose, what, and which.

Who is that?!

Whose shoes are you wearing?

To whom should I address my complaints?

Which way should I turn to reach your place?

What in the name of Chanel is wrong with you?!

Why are you so cantankerous? (adverb)

Where is Leonardo? (adverb)

When can you come for a visit? (adverb)

How does this thing work? (adverb)

POSSESIVE PRONOUNS (and possessive adjective pronouns)

It is easy to identify possessive pronouns.  These words refer to ownership. They are used to identify when something belongs to someone. They are strongly related to possessive adjectives.  The possessive pronouns are: Mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs, (possessive adjectives: my, your, his, her, its, our, their)

  1. It’s mine.
  2. It’s not yours.
  3. Is it hers?
  4. No, I think it’s his but I could be wrong.
  5. This is its collar. Do you want it?
  6. Can we eat ours?
  7. Pass theirs to them.
  8. My hand itches.
  9. Does your hand ever itch?
  10. He told me that his toes itch all the time but his hand never itches.
  11. Her nose is itching but she is afraid to scratch it.
  12. It uses its tail to soothe the itch.
  13. They took our seats; this makes me itch with rage!
  14. I declined their invitation because I am afflicted with jock itch and preferred to stay home.



There are four demonstrative pronouns. They are: this, that, these, those. Demonstrative pronouns are used to specify a thing or person or place (nouns). This and that are singular. These and those are plural. For example:

This is demented.

That is so typical of Donald Trump.

These people are not well; they need to get their heads checked.

Those people might as well resign from the administration.


Indefinite pronouns refer to nouns however they are used when the noun (person, place, or thing) is not specified.

  1. Someone called the cops.
  2. Anyone is allowed to enter.
  3. No one believed her.
  4. Everyone laughed at her.
  5. All aboard!
  6. Some like it hot.
  7. She doesn’t like any, sorry.
  8. Mom doesn’t like either.
  9. Dad says neither can go.
  10. Let’s join the others.
  11. I don’t need so many.
  12. There were several.
  13. That’s enough.
  14. He was better than most and that’s why he won.
  15. Both are wrong.
  16. Nothing comes from nothing.
  17. Something is fishy about that.
  18. Everything is marvelous.
  19. Nobody should have to go though that.
  20. Somebody should enlighten her.
  21. Everybody has two sides.

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How to Become Fluent in English

To become fluent in English, you will have to do a number of different things. For every English learner, it could be a different combination of things but there are some common things that everyone who wants to be fluent in English needs to think about doing.

The first step to becoming fluent in English is learning how to think in English even when English is not your first language. This can be challenging to do for even the brightest and most motivated students. But rest assured that until you can think in English (and especially on a subconscious level without even trying) you will never be fluent in the language. That is to say, you must get to a point where you are not translating in your head from your language to English but you are hearing and processing and thinking in English from the first moment you hear the communication or speech.

The next question is bound to be “how  do I ‘think’ in English?”  That is a very good question and probably should be an independent post all to itself. But there is no question that one of the key ways to speed up that process is to immerse yourself in the language by traveling, hanging around native English speakers, consuming a huge amount of English material such books, movies, YouTube videos and magazines, and always and immediately looking up any English word you encounter that you do not know (if you have a mobile smart phone this can be a huge help because you can stop wherever you are and look up the word immediately.)

Another key thing you will have to do is learn English phrases such as phrasal verbs and idiomatic phrases. These are key to becoming fluent and speaking like a native. You have to know phrasal verbs and idioms.

Another key aspect of becoming fluent in English is verb tenses and modal verbs. Without taking the time to master these, you can kiss any pipe dream you have of becoming fluent in the language.

Finally, to become fluent in English you have to talk to yourself a lot in English. You have to role play a lot by yourself and talk to yourself in English. Also try reading English books aloud when you are alone to hear yourself speaking in English. This will build your English fluency fast!



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writing in English

Writing in English: 5 Common Writing Tasks That English Learners Fear and Tips for Conquering Your Fears


Below are 5 types of writing tasks that English learners can find daunting including college application essays, emails, letters, research articles, abstracts, memos and reports. We offer you advice on how to handle each. For an extensive discussion on memos and reports, please click here. Or read on below for tips on writing emails, business letters, research articles, abstracts and application essays.

In a previous article on writing business emails, our blog editor wrote “when English is not your ‘mother tongue’ writing effective emails in English can pose a challenge.” This is still true. But there are a few additional tips that might help you get better at the craft.

1. Understand that there are seven basic parts to an email:

  • The identification of the sender
  • The identification of the recipient
  • The subject line
  • The body of the email
  • The closing
  • The signature
  • The disclaimer

This format is probably universal in any language.

2. The purpose of your email should be stated in one sentence in the subject line of the email. For example, are you writing to:

  • Explain
  • Complain
  • Request
  • Thank
  • Apologize
  • Confirm
  • Invite
  • Decline

3. The body of the email is the most important part.

  • Begin with a neutral and polite greeting – for example:

Dear Mr Smith or

Good morning Mr Smith.

  • Start with a polite phrase – for example:

“Thank you for….”

“please confirm that”

  • Keep the body of your message clear and concise by using short sentences, proper punctuation and by using grammar rules – especially tenses – correctly.

4. End with a polite closing such as:

  • Kind Regards
  • Sincerely yours
  • I remain at your disposal.
  • Yours Faithfully
  • Respectfully
  • Respectfully yours

5. Become acquainted with as much email vocabulary as you possibly can

  • Address
  • Attachment
  • Bcc
  • Disclaimer
  • Emoticon
  • File size
  • Flag
  • Format
  • Forward
  • High priority
  • Html
  • Importance option
  • Inbox
  • Mark as read
  • Pdf
  • Reply
  • Sender
  • Sender
  • Signature

6. Be sure your email uses the right level of formality and that you have put a legal disclaimer at the end of your email.[/tab][tab title=”Application Essays”]

  1. Think of your audience before you even begin and set the right tone.
  2. Be open-minded and express it in your writing
  3. Read the instructions carefully before you even begin so that you are answering the question asked and no the one you thought was asked.
  4. Be concise. Follow the KISS principle (keep it short and simple) where appropriate.
  5. Do not exceed the page limit.
  6. Be yourself but also try to be creative without going overboard; show that you have a sense of humor and can be edgy but remain cultured and intelligent.
  7. Begin with a question for maximum impact.
  8. Answer the WH questions: Who, What, When and How
  9. Be yourself.
  10. Proofread and edit your work before you send it off.



You should write your abstract after you write the article or report. This is counterintuitive but all the experts agree that it is the most effective and efficacious way to write an abstract because that way you can capture exactly what the article is about and hit the main points. The purpose of the abstract is to provide the reader with enough but concise information that entices them to want to read more of your article.

Next, be concise. Follow the KISS principles: Keep it Short and Simple. Aim to use one paragraph to summarize the main points of the article. Crunch a maximum amount into each sentences (make every sentence count) without compromising the brevity rule.

Next, mention your hypothesis, method, findings and conclusion if possible in no more than two sentences. And keep your sentence length under 25 words per sentence.

Finally, summarize the summary in no more than two sentences.

[/tab][tab title=”Research article”]First, begin by consulting the journal for specific editorial requirements.

Then, begin to pre-plan your writing by organizing your ideas according to specific points you want to make.

Write your introduction. This should be limited to one page if possible and should adequately alert the reader about what you intend to prove or disprove and the methodology you plan to use. Your introduction should answer the “so what” question: Why is the research or article important? What question or issue does it address? What answers does it provide? What is your hypothesis. Is this a quantitative design or a qualitative study?

Plan a rough number of paragraphs you want to write. Each paragraph should generally cover a separate point. Organize your p paragraphs logically and sequentially so that your work will flow smoothly once you have a finished product. Paragraph structure is very important.

Follow the rules of English grammar with regard to tenses, articles and tone. For example, use the present tense to report facts. Use the past tense to report findings and results. Active voice is preferred over passive voice. Use articles and determiners such as “a” “an” “the” “my” “these” and “those” appropriately .

Cite your sources appropriately using primary sources such as research articles over other secondary material such as websites if possible.

If this is a an empirical paper, state your design in a methodology section. Is this a quantitative or qualitative design?

Other tips

  • Use 12 point times Roman font unless otherwise instructed
  • Double space
  • Do not exceed the page limit
  • Number your pages consecutively

[/tab][tab title=”Letters”]Like emails, letters can be either formal or informal, although in a business context, letters are formal almost 100 percent of the time.

A. There are 8 basic parts to a business letter:

  • Date
  • recipient’s address
  • Sender’s address
  • Re
  • Salutation
  • Body of the letter
  • Closing
  • Signature
  • Enclosures (if any)

B. There are different approaches to writing a business letter as far as placement of the various parts in particular the date, signature, closing and addresses.

1. The date can be placed at the left margin or the right margin.

2. The recipient’s address is always placed at the left margin but your sender’s address can be omitted if there is a letterhead; or if there is no letterhead, it can go on the left margin above the recipient(s address. Or the writer can create a “fake” letterhead by putting his or her address at the top of the page.

3. After the the addresses, put the “re” line. This will state in a short phrase or sentence the purpose of the letter.

4. In the body of the letter, break up the points into paragraphs using only one paragraph per point.

5. The closing in a letter, like an email can be any of the following depending on the context and preference of the writer:

  • Sincerely
  • Faithfully yours
  • Yours, etc.
  • Yours truly
  • Kind Regards

6. Always type your name but leave space to insert a handwritten signature.

7. If you are enclosing something in your correspondence, write “”encl.” after your signature. If you are enclosing more than one thing write “encls.”


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