Browsing All Posts filed under »Skills and Lifehacks«

How to rewrite

November 14, 2017


Good, simple advice for doing rewriting, an instinctive thing that almost defies explanation.

Fast-tracking your writing skills

April 8, 2017

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Take a leaf from the pros on how to fast-track your writing skills so that both you and your readers know what the blazes you're supposed to be writing about.

To bullshit or not to bullshit, learn it properly

May 12, 2015

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Remember, the effectiveness of any bullshittery is that it should be readily understandable. If not, then the bullshit is failing its mission.

A classical structure for composition

March 6, 2015

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If you're writing a formal essay or making a formal public speech, the three-part nonsense called 'Introduction,' 'Body' and 'Conclusion' just won't cut the ice. Take a leaf from the classicists and get a 21-gun salute.

How on earth do I write this?

January 10, 2015

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The essay is practically always the one thing that has even literate people beat. Lots of people don't seem to know how to do any kind of extended writing. Indeed, many don't seem to know how to do even a short job cover letter. S.O.P. for those who need a refresher, free of charge.

The skinhead of spelling, the slag of speech

July 18, 2014

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We have the full version of the famous 'pronunciation poem' that sends chills up the spine of native speakers and dismay to the non-natives.

Ten horrible habits about learning

November 12, 2012


HAVE BAD HABITS, say sayonara to learning a language. Full story by yours truly at Yago:— Ten horrible language study habits you must ditch | | 28 Oct 2012 © Learn English or Starve, 2012, licensed to Image via Advertisements

Deep end: The difficulty of learning languages

October 26, 2012

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The biggest problem facing anyone learning a language boils down to just one line.

How different? Just do it! (4/4)

April 30, 2012

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FROM PART 3 PREVIOUSLY in the first three parts, we’ve seen that dictionaries and usage experts support different from as standard usage. Statistics also showed that different from is used by the majority of American and British English speakers. Today, let’s get down to brass tacks with protips. * * * WHAT YOU SHOULD DO […]

According to your crap or my gold?

April 24, 2012

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Updated 15 Oct 2012 Stylebook of Invoiceable English according to WHENEVER you use the expression according to (especially in paid work), it needs to be followed by some kind of counter. Otherwise according to on its own will make you sound sarcastic and possibly also defamatory. Leaving according to dangling without a counter is plain (and plaintively) bad English […]

Skills: Where did this English come from? Part 2

June 11, 2011


Yesterday, we were given a block of text and we had to do three things on first reading: The probable ‘nationality’ of the writer. Whether the writer is a native or non-native English speaker. Which words or phrases are being used incorrectly. Improve the text. * * * Here is the original text again: My […]

Skills: Where did this English come from? Part 1

June 10, 2011


Here’s a small reading comprehension/identification/editorial exercise. [Original text follows] My ex boss asked me for password of my MSN (aka. Windows Live Messenger) today, (it’s also used as my primary email box contacting with my customers during the past years), before paying me salary of the last months, and, after my resignation for almost an […]

Orwell: Morally wrong to write badly

May 21, 2011


George Orwell (1903-50) was a literary titan of the 20th century famous for his passion for clarity in language and keen sense of social injustice. His works continue to influence popular and political culture even to this day. Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” (1946) sets out his basic premise that it is morally […]

Usage: Contractions

September 16, 2010

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Contractions can make your English more natural and authentic-sounding, yet they are one of the hardest things in the English language to do well.

How to learn a language

August 28, 2010

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Two posts from those who know what they are talking about when learning a language. And don’t forget to read the comments in the posts. Learning a language for busy people – Language learning: how to use your new skill –