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INTERVIEW TIPS 1. Conduct Research on the Employer, Hiring Manager, and Job Opportunity Success in a job interview starts with a solid foundation of knowledge on the jobseeker’s part. You should understand the employer, the requirements of the job, and the background of the person (or people) interviewing you. The more research you conduct, the more you’ll understand the employer, and the better you’ll be able to answer interview questions (as well as ask insightful questions” see #8). Scour the organization’s website and other published materials, search engines, research tools, and ask questions about the company in your network of contacts. Learn more about job search job interview researching here. 2. Review Common Interview Questions and Prepare Your Responses Another key to interview success is preparing responses to expected interview questions. First, ask the hiring manager as to the type of interview to expect. Will it be one-on-one or in a group? Will it be with one person, or will you meet several members of the organization? Your goal is to try to determine what you’ll be asked and to compose detailed yet concise responses that focus on specific examples and accomplishments. A good tool for remembering your responses is to put them into a story form that you can tell in the interview. No need to memorize responses (in fact, it’s best not to), but do develop talking points. There are excellent tools available to help you with interview questions and responses. Also, consider using the STAR Interviewing Technique. 3. Dress for Success Plan out a wardrobe that fits the organization and its culture, striving for the most professional appearance you can accomplish. Remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than under” and to wear clothing that fits and is clean and pressed. Keep accessories and jewelry to a minimum. Try not to smoke or eat right before the interview” and if possible, brush your teeth or use mouthwash. Find more detailed advice” including specifics for men and women jobseekers” in our article, When Job-Hunting, Dress for Success. 4. Arrive on Time, Relaxed and Prepared for the Interview There is no excuse ever for arriving late to an interview. Short of a disaster, strive to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled interview to complete additional paperwork and allow yourself time to get settled. Arriving a bit early is also a chance to observe the dynamics of the workplace. The day before the interview, pack up extra copies of your resume or CV and reference list. If you have a portfolio or samples of your work, bring those along too. Finally, remember to pack several pens and a pad of paper to jot notes. Finally, as you get to the offices, shut off your cell phone. (And if you were chewing gum, get rid of it.) For additional tips and advice, read our article, 24-Hour Countdown to the Job Interview. 5. Make Good First Impressions A cardinal rule of interviewing is to be polite and offer warm greetings to everyone you meet” from the parking attendant to the receptionist to the hiring manager. Employers often are curious how job applicants treat staff members” and your job offer could easily be derailed if you’re rude or arrogant to any of the staff. When it’s time for the interview, keep in mind that first impressions” the impression interviewers get in the first few seconds of meeting you” can make or break an interview. Make a strong first impression by dressing well (see #3), arriving early (see #4), and when greeting your interviewer, stand, smile, make eye contact, and offer a firm“ but not bone-crushing“ handshake. Remember that having a positive attitude and expressing enthusiasm for the job and employer are vital in the initial stages of the interview; studies show that hiring managers make critical decisions about job applicants in the first 20 minutes of the interview. 6. Be Authentic, Upbeat, Focused, Confident, Candid, and Concise Once the interview starts, the key to success is the quality and delivery of your responses. Your goal should always be authenticity, responding truthfully to interview questions. At the same time, your goal is to get to the next step, so you’ll want to provide focused responses that showcase your skills, experience, and fit” with the job and the employer. Provide solid examples of solutions and accomplishments” but keep your responses short and to the point. By preparing responses to common interview questions (see #2), you’ll ideally avoid long, rambling responses that bore interviewers. Always attempt to keep your interview responses short and to the point. Finally, no matter how much an interviewer might bait you, never badmouth a previous employer, boss, or co-worker. The interview is about you” and making your case that you are the ideal candidate for the job. Read about more interview mistakes in our article, Avoid These 10 Interview Bloopers” Critical Jobseeker Mistakes. 7. Remember the Importance of Body Language While the content of your interview responses is paramount, poor body language can be a distraction at best” or a reason not to hire you at worst. Effective forms of body language include smiling, eye contact, solid posture, active listening, and nodding. Detrimental forms of body language include slouching, looking off in the distance, playing with a pen, fidgeting in a chair, brushing back your hair, touching your face, chewing gum, or mumbling. Read more about perfecting your body language in our article, The Unspoken Secrets of Job Interviewing: How Your Nonverbal Presentation and Behaviors Impact the Impression You Make. 8. Ask Insightful Questions. Studies continually show that employers make a judgment about an applicant’s interest in the job by whether or not the interviewee asks questions. Thus, even if the hiring manager was thorough in his or her discussions about the job opening and what is expected, you must ask a few questions. This shows that you have done your research and that you are curious. The smart jobseeker prepares questions to ask days before the interview, adding any additional queries that might arise from the interview. For an idea of questions you could ask at the interview, see our article, Questions You Can Ask at the Job Interview, as well as our article, Make a Lasting Impression at Job Interviews Using Questions. 9. Sell Yourself and then Close the Deal The most qualified applicant is not always the one who is hired; the winning candidate is often the jobseeker who does the best job responding to interview questions and showcasing his or her fit with the job, department, and organization. Some liken the job interview to a sales call. You are the salesperson” and the product you are selling to the employer is your ability to fill the organization’s needs, solve its problems, propel its success. Finally, as the interview winds down, ask about the next steps in the process and the timetable in which the employer expects to use to make a decision about the position. See our article, Closing the Sale and Overcoming Objections in Job Interview. 10. Thank Interviewer(s) in Person, by Email, or Postal Mail. Common courtesy and politeness go far in interviewing; thus, the importance of thanking each person who interviews you should come as no surprise. Start the process while at the interview, thanking each person who interviewed you before you leave. Writing thank-you emails and notes shortly after the interview will not get you the job offer, but doing so will certainly give you an edge over any of the other finalists who didn’t bother to send thank-you notes. For more tips on writing thank-you notes, read this article: 10 Tips for Writing a Job-Search Interview Thank-You Letter. You can also check out these job interview thank-you letter samples. Final Thoughts on Job Interview SuccessSucceeding in job interviews takes research, practice, and persistence. The more effort you put into your interview preparation, the more success you’ll see in obtaining job offers” especially if you remember and follow these ten job interviewing tips.
Importance of English in the Business World Success in business is often hinged on one single important word – communication; and most of it happens in English. The world is flat; the economic migrations of the past decades have become permanent expat communities. Asians, especially, continue to migrate to the United States or to Europe for jobs and live there permanently. Even for those involved in business from their native countries, if they want to sell to a larger market, need to understand the trends and the cultures of those markets. This is often best done through the common currency that is English. Love it or hate it, we simply can’t ignore it. Big businesses call the shots, so if in Germany you do as the Germans do, in the common world market, learn English. In order to get ahead in your chosen field you need to make yourself completely understood by the people you work with. There will be emails; there will be telephone conversations, and they are costly! Knowing good English helps you to make your point faster. If you have a website that the whole world can see, you had better have content that is meaningful and accurate and does not embarrass you or harm your business. Even within Indian companies, especially large corporations, the number of employees is too huge for personal, one-on-one communication. Hence the intranet is the notice board and all communications are made through it. Imagine a secretary who didn’t know grammar and punctuation sent out a company wide email – “meeting cancelled because of indisposed”. Because of whom? Because of indisposed? Is indisposed the name of a person? Another Indian might scoff and laugh at the very poor grammar, or might even get the gist of it, but what about the impression you make on, say, foreign collaborators who receive the same email? And even if we ignore the impression we make, what about the issues that arise from miscommunication? People just don’t know what you mean. Written communication is as important as verbal. Engineers typically are nonchalant about their lack of language skills, saying that they understand their core subjects and that’s enough. I would say that it is not enough to understand the concepts through insight or genius, you need to communicate that you know. Think interviews and group discussions for job-seekers! You cannot do this without proficiency in a language. And what about presentations? You might have the most brilliant idea in the world, but if you do not know how to get it across, you are lost. I have seen scores of presentations made by students who are too stumped or lazy to formulate simple, brief and attractive sentences in English, which are the backbone of any good presentations. What they do is to simply type into Google, move into relevant or sometimes irrelevant sites, copy a large section of content and simply paste it into their power point slides, without a thought as to how readable or attractive it might be. A little education here (either training through company intranets, or an on-line course, or some self motivated self-education) can go a long way. The employee will not only use better grammar and vocabulary, but will also use logical chunking and sizing of the content, so he only puts as much on a slide as is easy to read and understand. One point per slide, with an example if it is there – this is a good rule. Anything more is actually taking away from your content.
speak English fluently Take these 10 tips on how to learn English faster as your starting point and you’ll master this wonderful language in no time! 1. Read everything you can get your hands on Classic literature, paperbacks, newspapers, websites, emails, your social media feed, cereal boxes: if it’s in English, read it. Why? Well, this content will be full of juicy new vocabulary, as well as a fair amount you already know. This helps you improve quickly, as re-exposure to learned vocabulary gives you new examples in context, therefore reinforcing those words in your mind. On the other hand, learning new words and expressions is essential to building your vocabulary arsenal, particularly in a language like English with so many words! However, don’t just read and move on – next, you’ve got to… 2. Actively take note of new vocabulary This tip is a classic one for good reason: it works! When learning, we often enjoy a new word of phrase so much that forgetting it seems impossible. But trust us, not everything sticks the first time. To fight this, get into the habit of carrying around a funky notebook or using a tool like Evernote. Whenever you hear or read a new word or expression, write it down in context: that is, in a sentence and with its meaning noted. This saves you time as you won’t return to that word and ask yourself: “What did that word/expression mean again?” 3. Talk with real live humans What is a language for if not to communicate? Sure, we humans have become experts at communicating without opening our mouths – thanks Whatsapp! – but when push comes to shove, it’s true that speaking a language helps it stick in your head far better than only reading or writing it. Just think of how many times you’ve heard people say that they “understand, but can’t speak English.” A lot of would-be English speakers have turned talking into a huge insurmountable barrier that only serves to psyche them out. Don’t be like that. Seek out native speakers for an informal language exchange, enroll in a course, or take classes online. 4. Subscribe to podcasts or Youtube channels (in English) Like humor? Politics? Blogging? Cooking? With topics covering every interest imaginable, there’s an English-speaking podcast or Youtube channel out there for you. Subscribe to a few and listen while driving or watch during the commute to school or work. At first, you might find the native accents difficult, but stick with it and you’ll soon start to understand what you hear (as well as learning lots of new vocab from a native speaker!) 5. Go abroad If there’s a better way to learn English than being immersed in it while living and studying in an English-speaking country, we’d love to know! It’s no secret that English is the most widely-spoken language in the world, and with a long list of countries to choose between, you can select your ideal learning environment based on hemisphere, weather, or favorite city. Think Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, Canada, and South Africa to name a few! 6. Use your friends Have friends who post online in English? Don’t gloss over them in your newsfeed: scan the items they share and commit to exploring one or two each day. They might be news or magazine articles, videos, talks, blog posts, songs, or anything else: if it’s in English and the topic interests you, it’s going to be helpful! 7. Ask a lot of questions Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also propelled the language learner to fluency! As you learn English, you’ll soon collect a mountain of questions. Don’t sit on your doubts – be curious and resolve them! If you’re enrolled in a course, ask your teacher (it’s what they’re there for, after all). But if you’re learning alone, don’t worry: find answers in blogs or language websites, ask other learners, or read through forums. You’ll be happy you did! 8. Take a lead from the stars Mix up your learning by picking a native English-speaking actor or singer you like. Now, head online, find a bunch of interviews they’ve given – and watch them! Watch once for gist, then again, taking time to note down interesting expressions and words you hear. The slang, stories, humor, and anecdotes that come out of these interview are sure to give you plenty to work with! 9. Start with what you really need Your English studies are likely to go far more quickly if you constantly remind yourself of your motives for learning. Are you going on a study exchange? Then, focus on vocabulary related to your studies. Have an overseas conference? Brush up on conversation starters to use with the other participants. Going on a gap year? Looks like travel and tourism vocabulary will be your guide. If you simply launch into learning English hoping to magically learn anything and everything at once, you’re likely to end up confused and burned out. Which brings us to… 10. Don’t kick yourself while you’re down When you start to feel like you’re not making ground – which happens to all learners at some point – don’t say, “I don’t speak English, ” or “I’ll never get this.” In fact, ban those phrases from your vocabulary! They only blur your understanding of the progress you’re making and convince you that your dreams of speaking English well are impossible. Instead, say “I’m learning English and making improvements everyday, ” “It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it, ” “I’m so much better that I was six months ago, ” and other phrases to remind yourself of the big picture.
fifty common grammar mistakes Below are some of the most common English mistakes made by ESL students, in speech and in writing. Go through the examples and make sure you understand the corrections. Then try the grammar test at the end to check your progress. Wrong I have visited Niagara Falls last weekend. Right I visited Niagara Falls last weekend. Wrong The woman which works here is from Japan. Right The woman who works here is from Japan. Wrong She’s married with a dentist. Right She’s married to a dentist. Wrong She was boring in the class. Right She was bored in the class. Wrong I must to call him immediately. Right I must call him immediately. Wrong Every students like the teacher. Right Every student likes the teacher. Wrong Although it was raining, but we had the picnic. Right Although it was raining, we had the picnic. Wrong I enjoyed from the movie. Right I enjoyed the movie. Wrong I look forward to meet you. Right I look forward to meeting you. Wrong I like very much ice cream. Right I like ice cream very much. Wrong She can to drive. Right She can drive. Wrong Where I can find a bank? Right Where can I find a bank? Wrong I live in United States. Right I live in the United States. Wrong When I will arrive, I will call you. Right When I arrive, I will call you. Wrong I’ve been here since three months. Right I’ve been here for three months. Wrong My boyfriend has got a new work. Right My boyfriend has got a new job. (or just "has a new job") Wrong She doesn’t listen me. Right She doesn’t listen to me. Wrong You speak English good. Right You speak English well. Wrong The police is coming. Right The police are coming. Wrong The house isn’t enough big. Right The house isn’t big enough. Wrong You should not to smoke. Right You should not smoke. Wrong Do you like a glass of wine? Right Would you like a glass of wine? Wrong There is seven girls in the class. Right There are seven girls in the class. Wrong I didn’t meet nobody. Right I didn’t meet anybody. Wrong My flight departs in 5:00 am. Right My flight departs at 5:00 am. Wrong I promise I call you next week. Right I promise I’ll call you next week. Wrong Where is post office? Right Where is the post office? Wrong Please explain me how improve my English. Right Please explain to me how to improve my English. Wrong We studied during four hours. Right We studied for four hours. Wrong Is ready my passport? Right Is my passport ready? Wrong You cannot buy all what you like! Right You cannot buy all that you like! Wrong She is success. Right She is successful. Wrong My mother wanted that I be doctor. Right My mother wanted me to be a doctor. Wrong The life is hard! Right Life is hard. Wrong How many childrens you have? Right How many children do you have? Wrong My brother has 10 years. Right My brother is 10 (years old). Wrong I want eat now. Right I want to eat now. Wrong You are very nice, as your mother. Right You are very nice, like your mother. Wrong She said me that she liked you. Right She told me that she liked you. Wrong My husband engineer. Right My husband is an engineer. Wrong I came Australia to study English. Right I came to Australia to study English. Wrong It is more hot now. Right It’s hotter now. Wrong You can give me an information? Right Can you give me some information? Wrong They cooked the dinner themself. Right They cooked the dinner themselves. Wrong Me and Johnny live here. Right Johnny and I live here. Wrong I closed very quietly the door. Right I closed the door very quietly. Wrong You like dance with me? Right Would you like to dance with me? Wrong I go always to school by subway. Right I always go to school by subway. Wrong If I will be in London, I will contact to you. Right If I am in London, I will contact you. Wrong We drive usually to home. Right We usually drive home.
English Speaking Classes For Ladies English speaking difficulty #1 – Listening Remember that when you’re having a conversation, you’re only talking about 50% the time – the other 50% is spent listening to the other person speak. If you don’t understand what the other person is saying, it’s difficult to reply. Here are two simple solutions to this problem: First, practice some listening EVERY DAY. All you need is 10-15 minutes per day to develop your listening skills. You can get free English podcasts on websites like ESLpod.com and listen to them while driving, taking public transportation, exercising, or doing housework. Next, memorize these phrases that you can use in conversation when you don’t understand something: I beg your pardon? I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that. Could you repeat that, please? Could you say that again, please? English Speaking Difficulty #2 – Vocabulary Sometimes when you’re speaking English, you have a sentence in mind, but you’re missing two or three important vocabulary words – and then it becomes difficult to say what you’re thinking. The solution? Learn more vocabulary words! But there’s a good way and a not-so-good way to learn new words. The not-so-good way is to read lists of words and definitions and try to memorize them. A good way is to learn words in “families.” For example, imagine you’re in an airport. Do you know the words for everything you see? (luggage, check-in desk, travel agency, flight attendant, boarding pass) If not, look for the words you don’t know in a dictionary. Now think about what kind of conversations you might have in an airport. How would you ask for help if you can’t find the gate? What would you say if you missed your flight? How about going through immigration? Create conversations and write them down in your vocabulary notebook. This will help you learn useful words that are all related to each other, so the next time you’re in an airport, you won’t have problems with missing vocabulary. English Speaking Difficulty #3 – Pronunciation English words can be difficult to pronounce – and when speaking English, you have to consider not only the pronunciation of the individual words, but also the connection between the words in the sentence. There’s also the “rhythm” and intonation of the sentence to consider – and sometimes your mouth gets confused! There are two things that can help you improve your English pronunciation. One way is to take a pronunciation course. Another way to improve your pronunciation is to keep practicing your listening. The more you listen to English, the more your pronunciation will naturally get closer and closer to native pronunciation. A good way to practice is to get an audio sample with transcript. Listen to one or two sentences (while reading the transcript), then pause the audio and try to repeat the sentences exactly as the person said them. Practicing pronunciation like this will help you improve very fast. English Speaking Difficulty #4 – Confidence If you feel nervous and are afraid of making a mistake while speaking English, then your problem is confidence. There are three things that can help increase your confidence: First, don’t worry too much about grammar! Just do your best to communicate, and you’ll often be successful even if you do make a small grammar mistake. Also, remember that the grammar of spoken English is often more “flexible” than the grammar of written English. Second, keep a positive attitude. Think of yourself as an English speaker (because you are!) and focus on celebrating what you know, not being frustrated about what you don’t know. Third, practice speaking English as much as possible in low-pressure situations. Here are two examples of low-pressure situations: Talk to yourself! It might feel ridiculous, but it really helps! Talk to your teacher and your friends in English class. If you make a mistake, they can correct you. It’s extremely important to practice in low-pressure situations as much as possible to build your confidence so that you will be comfortable speaking English in a more “high-pressure” situation (like a teleconference, presentation, or job interview).
ENGLISH FOR PROFESSIONALS Do you ever feel awkward and socially inept? If so, don't fret because lots of people feel that way. Take control of your life and learn some basic etiquette and manners tips to help you feel more poised and graceful. There are times throughout every day of your life when you have to make a choice of whether to use good etiquette or be that person whose friends and family start avoiding. Even under the most trying of situations, it isn’t that much more difficult to be well mannered, and you’ll ultimately feel better later if you do the right thing. Most parents teach their children a handful of manners, but a lot of things typically fall through the cracks. After all, being a parent is difficult enough as it is. Adding manners and etiquette lessons takes time, and most adults are already swamped. So don't blame your parents for not teaching you how to hold a fork at a dinner party or send an RSVP to an invitation. It's never to late to take responsibility for your own actions. Be Friendly and Polite If you step outside your house during the day, you’re likely to encounter people, so try to be friendly. Even on miserable days when everything seems to be going wrong, forcing a smile has the potential to lift the mood of not only the person you’re looking at but yours as well. Offer a greeting, and you might even see an extra ray of sunshine. Certain words carry a tremendous amount of power when you care enough to be polite and civil to others. Add “please, ” “thank you, ” “you’re welcome, ” and “excuse me” to your vocabulary, and you may find others responding with reciprocated kindness. Be On Time Avoid being late for an appointment with anyone, whether it's your doctor or your child. Being on time shows your respect for the other person. When you're late for meetings, appointments, work, get-togethers with friends, or anything else, you're forcing others to wait, which is a huge waste of their time. They'll never get those minutes or hours back. Remember how you feel when you've had to wait for someone. Be a Helper You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to help out your fellow citizen. If you see someone whose arms are overloaded with packages, open the door for them. Also, if you have just entered a building and someone is right behind you, hold the door to keep it from slamming in his or her face. Respect Others When you interact with other people, you need to respect them. Allow others to voice their opinions without argument. Respect their personal space as you would want others to respect yours. When you are in the company of someone of greater authority, show him or her proper respect. The old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything” is wise and should be followed in most social and business situations. You’ll avoid having to backtrack or explain if you keep your snarky thoughts to yourself. Avoid gossip, even if it is juicy and entertaining. Let Others Go First If you can let others go first without awkwardness, then do it. This includes walking, standing in line, and driving. A woman with small children will appreciate getting through the checkout lane quickly, particularly if her children are hungry or bored. If a driver needs to move into your lane, and you can let him in without the person behind you rear-ending you, then gesture for him to go ahead. Hold Down the Noise This world has become too noisy, so try not to add to it. Keep your cell phone ringer volume as low as possible. If you work in an office cubicle, be considerate of your fellow office mates by keeping your voice low while chatting on the phone. Don’t honk at other drivers unless it’s to avoid an accident. Eat Politely Whether you brought your lunch or you’re eating out with friends, everyone appreciates good table manners that your parents should have taught you. Keep your elbows off the table, don’t talk with your mouth full, and avoid reaching across people to grab the saltshaker. Formal dinners have more etiquette rules, so if you’ll be going to one of those, take a little time to brush up on what’s expected. When eating in a restaurant, there are additional rules you need to follow. You need to be considerate of everyone, from others in your group to the server. Make sure your you talk to your children about behaving properly before you take them to a restaurant so they'll be welcome back. Remove Your Hat The old remove-the-hat-indoors etiquette rule seems to have gone out the window, but there are still some guidelines that you’d be wise to follow. If your hat is large and obstructs someone’s view (such as at church or in a theater), remove it. If you are on a business call or job interview, don’t risk being seen as impolite by leaving your hat on. When the national anthem is played, it’s a sign of respect to stand and remove your hat. Send a Thank You Note Being thankful will never go out of style. When someone does something for you, or sends you a gift, thank the person with a handwritten note. It’s the least you can do for a person who has taken the time to think of you. Introduce People When you are in a situation where you’re the only person who knows the other parties, take the time to introduce them. Look at the person whose name you are saying, speak clearly, and if you’re in a social setting, find something the people have in common. For example, you might say, “Jim, I’d like you to meet my friend Sally. She just got back from Italy, and since you used to live there, I thought you might enjoy talking about your experiences.”
IELTS IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. IELTS is required for entry to university in the UK and other countries. Who is it for? IELTS is recognised by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognised by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies. More than 2 million people a year take the test. What is the IELTS test like? You can choose between the Academic or General Training versions of the test. All candidates do the same Listening and Speaking sections. The test has four sections: Listening - 4 sections, 40 questions, 30 minutes Speaking - interview, 15 minutes Reading - different for Academic or General Training - 3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes Writing - different for Academic or General Training - 2 pieces of writing, 60 minutes This site also contains vocabulary tests, including practice tests for the academic wordlist, as well as grammar tests that are relevant to IELTS. Level and scores Multi-level. You get a score between 1 and 9. Half scores such as 6.5 are possible. Universities often demand an IELTS score of 6 or 7. They may also demand a minimum score in each of the 4 sections. Please click here to see an explanation of IELTS Band Scores. You can use the IELTS Band Score Calculator on this site to convert your reading and listening raw scores. Click here to see a comparison of IELTS scores with other exams. Click here to see our IELTS Exam Tips and IELTS articles. Where do I take the test? IELTS tests are administered at accredited Test Centres throughout the world - there are currently more than 500 Centres, in over 120 countries. Click here to find a test centre. When can I take the test? Arrange with your closest test centre. There are frequent dates, usually on Thursdays or Saturdays. How much does it cost to take IELTS? Fees are set by test centres and vary from country to country. Expect to pay around £160 GBP, €210 Euros or $230 USD. What materials do I need? You can download practice tests in pdf format from our partners at IELTS-Practice-Tests.com
The English language is always evolving, and over time we sometimes collectively change the meaning of a word. Whether this change is the result of a common usage error or has been deemed acceptable by official dictionary writers, it's often surprising to learn the real — or at least the original — meaning of some words. So are you sure you're using that word correctly? Here are 10 words that might not mean what you think they mean. 1. Bemused If you think this word means the same thing as a word it rhymes with, you're absolutely right. Unfortunately, most people choose the wrong rhyme. "Bemused" doesn't mean "amused, " though it's often used that way by mistake. It actually means "confused." If you have a bemused expression on your face right now, it's because this new information is blowing your mind — not because you think it's hilarious. 2. Decimate You're probably not totally wrong about what "decimate" means, but the error with this word is a matter of degrees. It does mean to destroy or eliminate something — but not completely. As the prefix "deci-" suggests, it actually means to reduce something by only one tenth. So if your retirement portfolio was decimated by the Great Recession, you actually got off easy, by only losing 10 percent of your money. 3. Disinterested Ever heard someone say, "I'm not going to watch the Super Bowl. I'm totally disinterested"? They probably mean they don't like football, but what they're actually saying is totally different. "Uninterested" is the word that means you find something boring. "Disinterested, " however, means you don't have any stake in the outcome because you're not invested in something. Now if your friend meant they weren't betting on the Super Bowl, "disinterested" would be correct. Unfortunately, most people aren't aware of the distinction. 4. Electrocute Ever accidentally stick your finger in an electrical outlet and get electrocuted? If that were true, you'd be dead and buried. "Electrocute" means to kill someone with an electric shock (think "execute" to help you remember). If you get a nasty shock from a malfunctioning appliance, you may be a little shocked, but you haven't been electrocuted. 5. Factoid "Factoid" is a relatively new word in English. It was coined by author Norman Mailer in 1973, and he meant it to refer to tidbits of information that everyone thinks are true, but actually aren't. According to this original use, "factoids" aren't facts at all, but rather fake news that people believe just because they've seen it written somewhere — tabloids in the '70s, Twitter today. The irony is that today people use factoid to mean a fun trivia fact — pretty much the opposite of what Mailer intended. 6. Ironic Isn't it ironic that people use this word incorrectly all the time? Nope. It's just funny. A lot of people — looking at you, Alanis Morrisette — use "ironic" to mean an interesting coincidence or just something that strikes you as sort of silly. It really means something totally unexpected — a twist you didn’t see coming. It can also refer to saying something unexpected, like a sarcastic "good job" when a waitress drops a tray of glasses. That's probably where the confusion began, since most people find sarcasm kind of funny. 7. Lied If you think "lied" has two meanings, you're in for a surprise. This is the past tense of only one word, not two, so you could be using it correctly only half the time. If you lied to your mother yesterday, you're not a good person, but you used the word correctly. "Lied" means to have told an untruth in the past. It is not the past tense of "to lie down" — that would be "lay." Lots of people get these conjugations confused, but you should say "I lay down after work yesterday because I was so tired." 8. Literally It may be tempting to blame this one on Rob Lowe's performance on Parks and Rec, but the reality is that his Chris Traeger character was poking fun at the many people who are confused by the word "literally." "Literally" means something that's real, true or exact. Most people use this word to mean the opposite, though, saying things like "My head literally exploded." If that were true, you'd have a real mess on your hands! This type of usage has become so common that dictionary bigwigs have added the figurative use of "literally" as a correct usage. Go figure. 9. Luxuriant "Luxuriant" sounds like "luxurious, " but it's not quite the same. "Luxuriant" means “abundant, " and not necessarily something expensive. You can have a luxuriant lawn that's lush with green grass, but it probably won't feel luxurious if you're the one in charge of all the mowing, fertilizing and weeding. 10. Penultimate The word "penultimate" means second to last, usually on a list of items. That's because "ultimate" means the last item, not necessarily the best one. Over time, however, people started to use "ultimate" to mean the best or most exciting thing around. While that shift became so common that it's now accepted, it also means that people began to use "penultimate" to mean extra-awesome — which isn't correct at all. The prefix "pen-" means "almost, " so using "penultimate" to mean "really great" doesn't even make sense. Alas, the road to changing definitions never did run smooth. Words of Wisdom So, did any of these definitions "literally" blow your mind? Since English is the language that probably has more words than any other, there's a lot to keep track of — so you're excused if you get three or four or even 10 of those words mixed up once in a while. Now that you know the difference, you can make sure that your speech and writing are truly top-notch.
International English “International English”: An alternative to US or UK English 06 Sep 2016 ·by Liz Naithani ·(comments: 0) English dictionaries on book shelf and boxes with US and GB flag Foto pixabay/unsplash, CC0 Public Domain Are you based in Germany but have an English website or publish advertising materials, brochures, product catalogues or annual reports in English? Then you’ve probably had to think about whether to use American or British English. The problem is that in today’s global economy texts are rarely read exclusively by either the British or by Americans. And when it comes to your web content, e.g. websites, blog articles or social media posts, people all around the globe have access. Keep in mind that you are using English as a lingua franca, so not only native English speakers are reading your texts, but people of all nationalities for whom English is a second language. The different ways of spelling words in American and British English (color vs. colour, fulfill vs. fulfil, aluminum vs. aluminium) presents only a minor challenge for an international readership. Differing word choice (highway vs. motorway, lawyer vs. barrister) is already more of a hindrance. What is really tricky is the use of country or region-specific expressions or idioms (e.g. derived from baseball or golf: You’re in the big leagues now!; His performance was not up to par) which only certain groups of native English speakers understand. The answer to this dilemma is “International English” – also called “Global English, ” “World English, ” “Common English” or “Globish” When using international English, make sure to use language that is understood both by native English speakers around the world, as well as by people who speak English as a foreign language. write clear, short sentences. chose idioms carefully. use humor in a culturally sensitive way and culturally “neutral” language is given preference. avoid using phrasal verbs (e.g. to put someone off; to go on about) and colloquial expressions (e.g. to blow someone off; great to have you on board!) wherever possible. write dates in a way that everyone will understand, e.g. by spelling out the month: 4 March 2016 instead of 04/03/2016 (UK) or 03/04/2016 (US). include the international prefix with phone numbers and the country name with addresses be precise when using currencies. Avoid writing “$1000, ” but instead write “USD 1000, ” “UD 1000” or “CAD 1000.” The next time you need an English translation or proofreading job done, consider whether international English isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. Your professional language service provider will be happy to help you with this. And while you’re at it, why not spend some time thinking about whether the images and photos in your English publication are suitable for readers around the world?
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