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Issue #044 -- Week 08/03/15-14/03/15
March 17, 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. Use the Comments facility at the end of every page and start making friends worldwide.
You and your friends can always 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.
AnnouncementAs I hope you noticed, I posted a new subscription form on the website, for a weekly game e-zine, which I thought of as a separate newsletter to this one, a rather special weekend edition.
However, the system I’m using doesn’t allow me to have two separate lists of subscribers, so I would have to send two e-zines to the same people, which I’m trying to avoid due to spamming regulations. So, I thought of the alternative of integrating the idea of an educational game into this e-zine, since some of you have already asked me for something funnier than the usual lessons.
We finished the TOEFL series of 10 skills for reading, so the timing is great for us to start a fun section now. However, I want to give you the chance to choose:
- Do you prefer the Game Section to replace the Reading Section? This was going to be continued by a section on writing skills otherwise; OR…
Please feel free to vote by replying to this email, for the duration of one week. I shall then announce in our next session, which way was more popular and take the appropriate action. Thank you for your cooperation on this matter. Show me you care about what I’m sending you - I look forward to hearing from you.
OK, having said that, let’s proceed with our present lessons and we’ll have this week’s game at the end. Enjoy!
Month 7 ~ Lesson 28
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.
In our reading course we started to work on some reading skills for the TOEFL exam, for those of you who are contemplating this in the future. This is particularly useful to my current students, who need to take this exam as part of their Level 5 course in Reading/Writing, this being the main reason for which I started this section.
Until I shall have the time to create my planned e-books from these courses, you can find our past lessons for free, as follows:
Grammar ~ Intensification of questions and negatives
Last time we spoke about intensifying adverbs and modifiers and I hope you’re still applying this in practice. Today we shall continue with intensification strategies, this time for questions and negatives.
Before we go into the mechanics of this, let’s talk a little bit about ‘wh-‘ questions. A ‘wh-‘ question is just that – a question asking for some information about something.
However, like any question (or statement, for that reason), we also have the emotive aspect of it, meaning the emotion the speaker/writer is adding to the message. It is this aspect we are intensifying, when we use the following tactics, either in speech or in writing.
You can intensify the emotive factor of a ‘wh-‘ question by adding ‘ever’, ‘on earth’, etc. to the ‘wh-‘ word:
“What ever were you thin king about?”
NOTE: When you see ‘ever’ as part of the word, as in ‘whoever’, ‘whatever’, ‘wherever’, they mean something else – they are not used as intensifiers. Having said this, you should also note that ‘why ever’ is always spelled as two words.
For intensifying a negative sentence you can add ‘at all’ either after the negative word, or at the end of the sentence:
“He said nothing at all about his plan to trick you.”
‘A bit’, ‘by any means’ and ‘whatever’ can also be used as negative intensifiers:
“He wasn’t a bit apologetic.”
Other words, can also take intensifying undertones, especially used sarcastically or jokingly, and they are usually applied in informal speech/writing:
“I didn’t sleep a wink.”
Adding ‘not’ to a noun phrase, to make it negative, can be used for emphasis:
“He spoke not a word about his conviction.”
As we mentioned before, to add emphasis to a part of the sentence, we can move it to the beginning of the sentence and make some slight adjustments to the rest of the sentence. Equally, we can place the negative element at the beginning of the sentence, as follows:
“Not a penny of his money did he spend.”
Now, if you remember the term ‘operator’ (being the auxiliary or helping verb forming the verb phrase), you shall notice that this is placed before the subject (‘did’ and ‘have’).
For ‘can’t’ or ‘couldn’t’, we can use ‘possibly’ as an intensifier:
“We can’t possibly carry on like this!”
Website Design ~ Building a Successful Website
So far we’ve covered two main aspects of website design: - the preparation stage for setting up a business online, by designing and publishing our own website;
- registering a website with the SBI system that I’m using.
Today we shall start the third and last main aspect of website design – the actually DOING it stage.
I bet it will be exciting, although I am waiting for people to confirm that you are actually interested in learning about it. As you may have read in the introduction, you need to email back and vote on whether to keep this section of our e-zine going, or replace it with the weekly vocabulary/grammar game we’re starting. The choices are between [grammar + website design + a game] or [reading/writing + grammar + a game]. Please indicate your options on this voting form.
So, before you go any further in building your website, once you’ve researched and established exactly what you wish to achieve by having a website AND registered your domain name, you need to assimilate ONE big website developer philosophy: Your site must be a Win-Win-Win proposition for three or maybe four types of readers:
1. Your website visitors;
If you plan to monetize your traffic by putting advertisements on your site (ex., Google AdSense ads or ads from advertisers that you locate) or through affiliate programs, there are actually 4 Wins...
4. Your advertisers or merchant-partners. Let's look at each win...
#1 Your visitor must get the best information you can give them. OVERdeliver with original, high-value info. Keep in mind what your visitors seek... they are notlooking for your business.
Your job is to provide quality info that reinforces in your visitor's mind that you are an "expert" they can trust... and one who can grant their wish or solve their problems. If you don't do this, they simply click the back button to the Search Engine and say... "Who's next?"
And yes, the SEs notice that very quick return to them, which is not good. And that brings me to...
#2 Search Engines are in business, too. Their product is the quality of their search results. Let's say, for example, a Web surfer searches for "salami." A Search Engine wants to deliver the most relevant "salami sites" on the Net.
If you do anything to hurt their product (i.e., the relevance and quality of their search results), sooner or later they will hurt you. But when your site provides what searchers want, you add value to a Search Engine's product.
As a result, searchers will trust this SE to find the best information next time as well. That is the big win for Search Engines. A growing loyal base of users makes it easier for them to attract and keep advertisers, their real customers!
#3 YOU must win, too, of course. How? Succeed at the first two wins...
• OVERdeliver to your visitor. This ensures repeat visits, confidence and trust and likability ("PREselling")... and growing chances to monetize.
And finally, depending upon your monetization plans...
#4 Your advertisers and merchant-partners must win, too.
For example, let's say that you plan to participate in the Google AdSense program. By focusing each page clearly on one topic, Google will be able to deliver contextually relevant ads. That makes Google's advertisers happy.
Game of the Week ~ Countable & Uncountable Nouns
Welcome to our first "Game of the Week session! I hope we'll all enjoy some fun and learn a lot from the pleasure as well.
The first game I chose for us is a vocabulary game, on the category of nouns. Worse: countable and uncountable nouns. What you need to know is that countable nouns are the ones you can count (you can use 'one', 'two', 'three' & 'many' with them) and the uncountable nouns are those you cannot count (you can only use 'some', but not numbers or 'many').
I shall bring you two games, which you will find on the following website:
Sorry, I don't have the link for this website programmed into my SBI system right now (my task of correcting exam papers distracted me today), but it will appear as a legitimate link in the back issues - I shall complete that operation soon after posting this e-zine to you.
OK, let's see the two games:
# 1. The first game is a kind of 'pick and drag' to fill in the gap to finish the sentence correctly. You have 10 questions and at the end you can check your answers and reset, to play another game or to teach your child/a friend this categories of nouns.
# 2. The second game is another kind of 'pick and drag' 16 nouns into the correct groups - countable on the left and uncountable on the right.
Again, you have the same choice at the end - check your answers or reset to play another game.
Tell me you're enjoying this... It would be a compliment for English, if you'd risk your job over a game of English grammar :-)
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. If you wish to chat either with me or with other members worldwide, go to My English Club .
Enjoy your holidays and your time with your families!
Lucia da Vinci
Founder of My English Club
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