|Back to Back Issues Page|
Issue #035 -- Week 04/01/15-10/01/15
January 13, 2015
Greetings and General Information
A warm welcome to our new subscribers! I wish you will find My English Club fun and instructive and I look forward to welcome you as a new valued member soon. Read, learn and communicate around the world!
Please feel free to contribute to these pages when you have a minute. They are meant to be a platform for exchanging ideas, stories and opinions - an ideal medium for practicing your English, which should be used to the full. Together, let's bring it alive, let's make it the welcoming community you wished for, when you joined.
You and your friends can subscribe individually through the form on My English Club. If anybody mentions to you that they are interested in receiving it, please tell them this - many thanks. Also, they can read the previous issues on Back Issues for English Corner E-zine.
Month 5 ~ Lesson 19
We started studying three subjects back in September 2014: pronunciation and grammar for improving your communication skills, as well as website design and development, for applying your English in practice once you get skilful in English and website building. Once we covered the basics of pronunciation, we started a new course in reading.
You can find our past lessons as follows:
Reading ~ Reading Skills for TOEFL 
When we have two sentences linked together, with the same subject in the second sentence, this second subject may be expressed by a different word than the first subject, only to avoid repetition.
An example may be:
“[When the lady wanted to pay for her shopping], [she realised she’d forgotten her purse at home!]”
Because the word she refers to the lady that was mentioned before, the lady is generally called a referent.
Note that we have two pronouns in the second sentence – one is a subject pronoun and the other one an object pronoun, and they both need to “agree” in number/gender with their referent in the previous sentence.
Now, because you need to respect the number (singular/plural) AND the gender (he/she) of the two words consistent in both of the two sentences, you need to have it very clear in your mind which word refers to which, and then just maintain the correspondence in number and gender consistent.
How would you like me to write:
“[When the lady wanted to pay for her shopping], [they realised she’d forgotten her purse at home!]” or
That’s bad English, bad Chinese, bad Arabic – it would be bad in any language, even your son could tell you that! So… why do so many people make this kind of mistakes?
Well, the reason is more complicated than just blaming it on lack of practice. You need to also know the kind of words you could use (or you will recognise in a reading exercise of this kind), replacing the subject in the first sentence.
These are all the possible categories – you can have:
A referent usually stays in front of the pronoun or adjective in question, so you should read the context around that pronoun or adjective carefully, and select a referent that agrees with it in the previous sentence.
Consider the excerpt below:
i) “Baseball, we know, is precise, ceremonial. It's a world bounded by foul lines, marked by fixed positions. The playing field is neatly geometric, while the game itself is a linear equation of batters retired and runs batted in. It begins with a song nobody can sing, and it ends with hoarse whispers of "Maybe next year." The story of baseball is like some ancient Greek myth: meet the enemy head on, tour the bases, and eventually head back home, there to be greeted by friends who suddenly recall how much they have missed you. That's baseball.”
[From “Watching Baseball, Playing Softball” , by Lubby Juggins]
The word "It" in the fourth sentence refers to:
The context around the pronoun mentions ‘the playing field’ and ‘the game itself’; however these are part of ‘baseball’, which is the topic of the complete passage. The ‘song’ and the ‘hoarse whispers’ are part of the whole concept of ‘baseball’, which is precise and ceremonial. To answer this question, you should select option C) baseball.
ii) I stood like one bewitched. I drank it in, in a speechless rapture. The world was new to me, and I had never seen anything like this at home. But as I have said, a day came when I began to cease from noting the glories and the charms which the moon and the sun and the twilight wrought upon the river's face; another day came when I ceased altogether to note them.
[From “Two Ways of Seeing a River” , by Mark Twain]
i) The word "them" in the fifth sentence refers to:
If we search for something the author ‘noted’, that is mentioned prior to the word “them” in the fifth sentence, we realise he was referring to 'the glories and the charms which', therefore in this excerpt the correct answer is (D) glories and charms.
I suggest you should you should pay attention to these associations when you read and stop to search for the meaning of the words from different sentences that are linked together by the linking word types I mentioned above. This will become easy, with practice – dare to prove me wrong.
In our next issue, we shall look into a useful skill when it comes to both reading and writing - simplifying meanings in sentences.
Grammar ~ Cross-Reference and Omission
OK, I chose this topic for today’s issue, as it goes hand-in-hand with the reading section above, about referents.
Clauses are often connected not only because of a meaning-link of the kinds we have looked at previously, but also because they share some content – e.g. they may be talking about the same person:
“His little sister had an umbrella with her. So his little sister didn’t get wet.
These two sentences can be linked into one, in this case with an adverb like so, without changing them:
“His little sister had an umbrella with her, so his little sister didn’t get wet.
However, generally we avoid repeating the shared words and content, either
- by cross-reference (using a pronoun such as she;
“His little sister had an umbrella with her, and so (she) didn’t get wet.
The general rule is (and this will help you when it comes to exercises such as the ones in the section above (Reading): cross-refer and omit wherever you can, except where this leads to ambiguity.
Let’s have a look at how we do this in English. Sometimes one method is suitable, sometimes the other and sometimes both are acceptable.
The personal pronouns he, she, it, they cross-refer to noun phrases, and agree with them in number and/or gender. I also consider the “or” possibility here, because we do have cases where the gender does not matter much. In case we are talking about people, the masculine (he) gender, and the feminine (she) gender is important to apply; however, when we are talking about non-personal things, such as objects, in English, we only have the pronoun it, which is the same for feminine and masculine.
Another linking word is who or somebody, for he/she, but which and something for it.
“Mike glanced at his feet. They were covered in mud.”
Notice that the plural pronouns they, them, etc. substitute not only for plural noun phrases, but also for coordinated singular noun phrases such as “Tom and Harry”:
“You know Tom and Harry, don’t you? They are both Eve’s friends.
Website Design ~ Monetizating with AdSense
Use Brainstorm It!'s Get Google $ tool (which imports ad-related data from Google) and the Ad Value Task Bar (a set of AdSense-related pre-set tasks) to figure how well your Site Concept can be monetized by Google AdSense.
If the Cost-per-Click is consistently high across a lot of keywords, this is an indication that your niche is highly monetizable in general, not just with AdSense. High CPCs mean that advertisers think they can make money based on those keywords, even at the high rates they pay for their ads.
AdSense potential - good or bad?
If you discover that the AdSense potential is poor, find other monetization options with strong potential. This is when you may decide to return to some more deep-brainstorming and side-branching, in order to figure out a stronger approach/angle with greater monetization. Or you may even go further back into your planning and select a different concept altogether!
If you are still unsure of which niche to choose, you can examine one Seed, the other, and then both, comparing the quality and quantity. If you do this, the two seeds should be of the same level of competitiveness.
If one set of keywords has much higher Supply than the other, it will appear to be more attractive. But that will be irrelevant if you only have 2-5 hours per day to devote to your business, because that is not enough time to win a highly competitive niche.
But time is not the only factor to consider. For example, let's say that Seed Word A generates a higher number of profitable, winnable keywords than Seed Word B, but Seed Word B shows more AdSense potential. Do you prefer to score higher for a larger number of keywords and get more traffic but display lower-paying ads to that traffic? Or would you rather display higher-paying ads to a smaller number of visitors?
Your passion level for a Site Concept also has to figure into the picture! So think of the Get Google $ tool as one more aid to help you make a final decision about your Site Concept.
A solid understanding of the power of the Get Google $ tool will help you now in this start-up phase and later when you are trying to decide which content page to write next. Doing some extra prep work now will pay "time" in the future.
My friends, reading what I just told you, I realise how you may get confused about AdSense at this stage. However, it is too late in the night for me to write another piece on it, so I shall leave it for next time to clarify what exactly is AdSense (for those of you who don't know already) and how it works, so you can consider this as an easy source of income.
This Is It, Folks!
I hope you find this information useful and not too confusing. Even though you're in the stage of building on it, have patience at this point in your learning and you'll be able to reap the fruit of your work later on, whichever aspect of our lessons you are concentrating on.
Please feel free to comment and suggest your ideas by replying to this email - I look forward to hearing from you.
OK, I wish you all a great week ahead.
Have fun, as always! My best wishes,
Lucia da Vinci
Founder of My English Club
|Back to Back Issues Page|