How to Answer 22 Essay Question Words

Words such as ‘explain’, ‘evaluate’ or ‘analyse’ – typical question words used in essay titles – provide a useful indication of how your essay should be structured. They often require varying degrees of critical responses. Sometimes, they may simply require a descriptive answer.

No matter their nature, question words are key and must always be adhered to. And yet, many students often overlook them and therefore answer their essay questions incorrectly. You may be a font of all knowledge in your subject area, but if you misinterpret the question words in your essay title, your essay writing could be completely irrelevant and score poorly.

For example, if you are asked to compare the French and British upper houses of parliament, you won’t get many points by simply highlighting the differences between the two parliamentary systems.

Some question words require a critical answer and there are varying degrees of how critical your answers must be according to the requirements of the question. We’ve broken these down for you below:

1. Analyse

Essay questions that ask you to ‘analyse’ a particular topic or argument expect a thorough deconstruction of the essay subject. In other words, this word requires you to break the essay topic down into its fundamental parts.Once you have done this, it’s also important that you critically (more on this word later) examine each part. You need to use important debates and evidence to look in depth at the arguments for and against, as well as how the parts interconnect. What does the evidence suggest? Use it to adopt a stance in your essay, ensuring you don’t simply give a narration on the key debates in the literature. Make your position known and tie this to the literature.

2. Evaluate

When answering this essay question word, the key is to provide your opinion or verdict concerning the extent to which an argument or set of research findings is accurate. You may also be required to demonstrate the extent to which you agree with a particular argument or hypothesis.It is essential to provide information on both sides of the debate using evidence from a wide range of academic sources. Then you must state your position basing your arguments on the evidence that informed you in arriving at your position.

3. Justify

With ‘justify’ question words, you need to explain the basis of your argument by presenting the evidence that informed your outlook. In such answers, you need to present your evidence in a convincing way, demonstrating good reasons for adopting your position.Also, you may want to consider arguments that are contrary to your position before stating a conclusion to your arguments. This will help present a balanced argument and demonstrate wide knowledge of the literature. Here, a critical approach becomes crucial. You need to explain why other possible arguments are unsatisfactory as well as why your own particular argument is preferable.

4. Critically evaluate

To ‘critically evaluate’, you must provide your opinion or verdict on whether an argument, or set of research findings, is accurate. This should be done in as critical a manner as possible. Provide your opinion on the extent to which a statement or research finding is true. A critical evaluation of a subject will warrant an assertive essay response that details the extent to which you agree with a set of findings, a theory, or an argument.The key to tackling these question words is providing ample evidence to support your claims. Ensure that your analysis is balanced by shedding light on, and presenting a critique of, alternative perspectives. It is also important that you present extensive evidence taken from a varying range of sources.

State your conclusion clearly and state the reasons for this conclusion, drawing on factors and evidence that informed your perspective. Also try to justify your position in order to present a convincing argument to the reader.

5. Review

An answer to a ‘review’ question word should demonstrate critical examination of a subject or argument. This is done by recapping or summarising the major themes or points in question, and critically discussing them while giving your opinion.Put another way, ‘review’ questions entail offering your opinion on the validity of the essay question. For example, you may be asked to review the literature on electoral reform in Great Britain. You’ll need to give an overview of the literature. and any major arguments or issues that arose from it. You then need to comment logically and analytically on this material. What do you agree or disagree with? What have other scholars said about the subject? Are there any views that contrast with yours? What evidence are you using to support your assessment? Don’t forget to state your position clearly.

Review answers should not be purely descriptive; they must demonstrate a high level of analytical skill. The aim is not simply to regurgitate the works of other scholars, but rather to critically analyse these works.

6. Assess

In the case of ‘assess’ question words, you are expected to consider or make an informed judgement about the value, strengths or weakness of an argument, claim or topic. ‘Assess’ questions place particular emphasis on weighing all views concerning the essay subject, as opposed to your opinion only.However, when assessing a particular argument or topic, it is important that your thoughts on its significance are made clear. This must be supported by evidence, and secondary sources in the literature are a great start. Essentially, you need to convince the reader about the strength of your argument, using research to back up your assessment of the topic is essential. Highlight any limitations to your argument and remember to mention any counterarguments to your position.

7. Discuss

‘Discuss’ question words typically require an in-depth answer that takes into account all aspects of the debate concerning a research topic or argument. You must demonstrate reasoning skills with this type of question, by using evidence to make a case for or against a research topic/argument.Give a detailed examination of the topic by including knowledge of the various perspectives put forward by other scholars in relation to it. What are your thoughts on the subject based on the general debates in the literature? Remember to clearly state your position based on all the evidence you present.

8. Examine

A close examination of a research topic or argument requires that you establish the key facts and important issues concerning the topic or argument by looking at them in close detail. This means that you must adopt a very critical approach with ‘examine’ question words.You should also try to provide some context on why the issues and facts that you have closely examined are important. Have these issues and facts been examined differently by other scholars? If so, make a note of this. How did they differ in their approach and what are the factors that account for these alternative approaches?

‘Examine’ questions are less exploratory and discursive than some other types of question. They focus instead on asking you to critically examine particular pieces of evidence or facts to inform your analysis.

9. To what extent

In essence, this asks how far you agree with a proposition put forward in the question. This requires a very in-depth assessment of the topic, and especially of the evidence used to present your argument.Such questions require that you display the extent of your knowledge on a given subject and that you also adopt an analytical style in stating your position. This means that you must consider both sides of the argument, by present contrasting pieces of evidence. But ultimately, you must show why a particular set of evidence, or piece of information, is more valid for supporting your answer.

Question words that require a descriptive response

In some instances, question words require mostly a descriptive response as is the case with the words below:

1. Define

Here, you must outline the precise meaning of the subject of the question. If the definition you provide is a contested one then make sure you mention this. How do other scholars define the subject? Why is its meaning contested and why have you chosen to use one meaning instead of the other if this is the case?It is important that you provide more than one meaning if there are several of them as it shows that you are very familiar with the literature.

2. Demonstrate

The key to tackling ‘demonstrate’ questions is to use several examples, evidence, and logical arguments. Essentially, you are required to show how a particular research topic or argument is valid by using evidence and arguments to support your claim.Make sure you assert your position with these types of questions. It’s even more important that you support your arguments with valid evidence in order to establish a strong case.

3. Describe

When describing something, you must provide thorough insight into the main characteristics of a research subject in an objective manner. As answers to such questions will be inherently descriptive, it is important that you recount or characterise in narrative form.‘Describe’ question words focus less on the basic meaning of something, therefore, and more on its particular characteristics. These characteristics should form the building blocks of your answer.

4. Elaborate

Here, you are required to provide a lot of detail and information on a research topic or argument. ‘Elaborate’ questions tend to elicit descriptive responses. Therefore. it’s important to demonstrate that you have done significant research on the topic to support the information you provide.

5. Explain

‘Explain’ questions expect you to basically clarify a topic. When answering such questions, it helps to imagine you are writing for someone who knows absolutely nothing of the subject. And remember two things. To provide as much detail as possible, and to give definitions for any jargon or key terms when used.In addition, always remember to back any claims with academic research. In explanatory answers it is important that you demonstrate a clear understanding of a research topic or argument. This comes across most convincingly if you present a clear interpretation of the subject or argument to the reader. Keep in mind any ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions as this will help you to structure a clear and logically coherent response. Coherence is extremely important in providing explanatory answers.

6. Explore

Needless to say, your answer must be exploratory and thus it is imperative that you adopt a questioning approach when answering such questions. Because of the exploratory nature of such essays, objectivity is key. That is, you should give an overview of all viewpoints before providing any of your own arguments.A somewhat detached, dispassionate tone can be particularly effective, in contrast to the more assertive, argumentative tone you might adopt for other types of essay question. Just remember that the key objective here is to give a nuanced account of a research topic or argument by examining its composite parts.

7. Identify

Essay questions that require you to ‘identify’ something in relation to a research topic or argument require you to simply point out and describe the main ideas in a short and coherent way. A little like this paragraph.

8. Illustrate

Such an answer will generally involve the use of many examples, such as tables, figures, graphs, or concrete research statistics and evidence. The aim is to use these examples to demonstrate knowledge of the subject of the question and to further explain or clarify your answer.

9. Outline

outline answer requires you present an organised description of a research topic or argument. It is imperative that you provide the main points only (and any important supplementary information) as opposed to focusing on the minor details. Remember to present your answer in a systematic and coherent way.

10. Summarise

When you are asked to summarise or present a summary of a research topic, you should give a condensed form of its main points or facts. You must omit all minor details and focus mainly on the key facts. As a result, summaries are typically brief and straight to the point. The key is to get all the main facts across to the reader in as punchy and succinct a manner as possible.

11. Clarify

This means to provide insight into a subject, and quite literally, provide clarification. For example, this could be done by making an argument or topic more clear by explaining it in simpler terms.Such questions require you to shed light on a topic or, in some instances, break down a complex subject into simple parts. Coherence is very important for acing such questions, remembering to present your answer in a systematic manner.

12. Compare

When asked to ‘compare’, you must identify any similarities between two or more subjects of discussion. You can go beyond making a basic comparison by trying to understand the roots of the similarities you identify, as well as their significance.Furthermore, you may also want to emphasise any differences, although the focus of your essay should be on establishing similarities.

13. Contrast

A ‘contrast’ question expects you to identify differences, not similarities, between subjects. What are the main dissimilarities between two or more subjects? What sets them apart? These are the general questions that you must keep in mind when addressing ‘contrast’ questions.

In conclusion:

When you first get your essay question, always try to understand exactly what the question means and what it is asking you to do. Look at the question word(s) and think about their meaning before you launch into planning what to write. Hopefully, our guide has shown you how to do this expertly.

Remember to read the question several times and consider any underlying assumptions behind the question. Highlight the key words and if possible, make a very basic draft outline of your response. This outline does not have to be detailed. But if you follow it as you write, it will help keep your response coherent and systematic.

Finally, remember to read through your essay at the end to check for any inconsistencies and grammatical or spelling errors.

Reference: https:/

Three Ways To Improve English Speaking Skills Without A Partner

by pteacademicexam

1. Learn English With Hollywood Movies & American TV series – People from Sweden, Netherlands & Denmark are world’s best non-native English speakers. You know why? because most of the movies they watch in cinemas are from Hollywood, they listen to English music & they watch American sitcoms.

I guess now you know, what you need to do. Live life like an Englishmen. Watch Hollywood movies, listen to English songs & watch American sitcoms.

Pick an American sitcom & start watching it today (How I Met Your Mother is my personal favorite.) You can take the help of subtitles for few initial episodes but eventually, you can graduate to watching shows in English with English subtitles and then with no subtitles

Benefits: This practice will help you learn English that is used regularly by native English speakers & increase your vocabulary.

2. Use ESL Program Podcasts – A podcast is an audio broadcast over the Internet. English language podcasts are a great way to improve English. The podcasts prepared by English-native speakers introduce you to common slangs, natural expressions, and interesting vocabulary.

Podcasts give you the opportunity to listen to people speak English in a variety of accents, and get comfortable with this variety. Check out these websites:

3. Listen to the recordings & repeat what you hear – ‘Practice Repeating’ what you hear out loud. This is the most important step to do if you really want to improve your English speaking.

Listen attentively to the recording, pay attention to the rhythm & how intonation is used to show attitudes & emphasis. Record your own voice, listen to it & keep tuning it.

Don’t simply repeat dialogues, try to grasp the true feeling of the sentence. Without emotional input, you will sound monotonous and boring. Speak as if that’s exactly what you want to say with true feelings.

Do you feel hesitant to speak English? And you don’t want to at the receiving end of people making fun of your wrong English.  I am going to tell you a method, I personally used while I was going through the same phase.

CALL A CUSTOMER CARE !!! Yes, you read it right. Call a customer care, choose English as your preferred language & then talk to customer care executive in English.

They won’t make fun of your wrong English. You can talk to them about their new services or you can register a complaint or discuss a problem you are facing with their product.

Give a call to your telecom service provider (Vodafone, Airtel, Idea) or to your bank or to any other company whose product you owe or simply know.





Reference: http:/

Dissertation research: the ultimate guide to finding dissertation resources

by oxbridgeessays

Thoroughly researching your dissertation is crucial if you want to obtain as high a mark as possible. To give you the best chances, you need to know the various places to look for dissertation resources when you’re undertaking your research.This article is your go-to guide on how to ensure your dissertation is adequately researched. Use it to help get you a step closer to the grade you’re working so hard to achieve.

Libraries and books

In this age of technology, libraries are often forgotten.Most universities provide an online library catalogue where you can search for a book by title, author, or subject. This will open your eyes to resources that you may not have found if you’d simply browsed the shelves.

For example, for an English Literature essay analysing a text involving the subject of death, you may find useful resources in the Religious Studies section. Or you could make use of the Education section for a dissertation focusing on Child Psychology.

“Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when
researching your dissertation – this is often what
will set your work apart from others.”

Some libraries are home to additional sources that aren’t on the shelves or in the online catalogue, such as rare collections of photographs or historical diary entries. Using these resources will prove that you have gone above and beyond to adequately support your work in an imaginative and committed way. Aside from your university library, public libraries house useful and unique resources. Council-run libraries are free to enter and if you sign up for a membership card, resources are free to borrow.Museums, both local to you and nationally, can provide the knowledge and history required to make your dissertation stand out. As well as this, many museums have their own libraries and study areas, such as the British Museum. Some have extensive archives for public use, such as the British Film Institute and the Museum of London Archaeological Archive.


Bookshops are often overlooked, but they are treasure troves of valuable resources.Whether you visit a large chain like Waterstones, or find a one-off, quirky bookshop, they can provide you with resources you may not have previously considered. A simple internet search will reveal bookshops near you. But another great way of making new discoveries is to ask around for recommendations from family, friends and academic colleagues.

Online and print journals

The use of journal articles is crucial in dissertation writing.Some are produced online, while others are printed quarterly, monthly or weekly. Your university library will hold past editions of many print journals, which you can borrow and take home. Many are available free of charge to students and can be downloaded in PDF format for use throughout your dissertation.

Drawing on information from journals will allow you to incorporate scholars’ viewpoints into your work, which you can then use as a basis for your key arguments.

Once you have visited your library website, you should see a link for ‘journals’. After clicking on it, you will see the facility to search for a title using key words or an author name, if you know it.

There will inevitably be a mix of quality when it comes to journal articles. Read them through thoroughly before taking a quote or information, as a poorly-researched article does not make for a valuable source.

Also, check for spelling and grammar. If this is poor, then that’s a good indication that the source should not be trusted. A quick Google search of the author(s) will show you whether or not they have written anything else and if they are reputable. Make sure they haven’t taken their information from unreliable sources, such as Wikipedia, which isn’t moderated and anyone can contribute to page information.


Databases are available via your library website and provide access to a variety of books, journals and other primary sources. There are databases specialising in specific subjects and they are an excellent first step towards discovering what’s available to you. Popular databases include Credo Reference, JSTOR and Westlaw.

Past dissertations

Most universities hold a collection of dissertations by past students in your discipline. These can be useful to study, particularly at the very early stages when you’re unsure about things like structure and layout. Make sure you don’t take too much from it though, or copy the title. The aim is to be unique and innovative.

Audio-visual material

Particularly in creative subject areas, audio-visual material is invaluable.Sources such as films, television programmes, radio interviews, podcasts and pieces of music will give your dissertation rich variety. Combining these with written sources will provide you with a strong framework and firm evidence of thorough research that goes above and beyond expectation.

Amazon and eBay

These websites sell some books for as little as one penny each, often with free and fast delivery. What’s great about them is that, with a little hunting, you could find a rare piece that wouldn’t otherwise be available in your library or as an electronic resource. Of course, what this means for your work will vary depending on the specifics of your discipline, but it’s worth a look if you don’t mind setting aside a small budget.

Some final tips…

Wherever you do your research, write down the details of any sources you use. Write them down in the same place and keep the list safe. To save yourself more time, you can type them out in whichever referencing format your dissertation calls for. This means that when it comes to completing your bibliography, you only need to check through it, tidy it up and ensure the sources are in alphabetical order.

“No matter how many resources you use, if your
dissertation is not correctly and consistently
referenced, you can easily lose marks.”

A faultless system of citation and referencing is a simple way to gain maximum marks. It demonstrates academic integrity and a firm awareness of the dangers of plagiarism.
Reference: https:/


By Enguroo

Do you think your English pronunciation still leaves much to be desired even after many years of learning the language? Do people sometimes ask you to repeat something even in case your grammar and vocabulary are OK? If so, don’t be frustrated. You are not the only one who faces this challenge. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to improve your pronunciation. Keep reading to know what it is…

Each and every learner dreams to sound like a native speaker. However, good pronunciation must be one of the most difficult skills to develop. The culprit of it must be the mother tongue of a learner as some languages lack some English sounds (e.g. there is no [θ] and [ð] in Russian or [l] and [v] in Japanese). Thus, problems of different learners differ.

Luckily, these days you can improve your pronunciation greatly. There are many fascinating ways of working on this skill and you don’t even have to leave your house for that. Just remember to follow a few important rules, keep your attitude positive and mix different ways to see what works best for you.

1. Listen, repeat and record

Those who have an ear for music might have an advantage over those who don’t if it comes to foreign language pronunciation. Such people find copying intonation and particular sounds much easier than their tone-deaf counterparts. They just have to do this activity regularly and then enjoy the fruits of their work. The same rule applies to those learners who are bad at copying sounds and intonation. The only difference is that it might take longer. Both groups of learners should try recording their pronunciation endeavours in order to compare the original recording (use the piece which is in line with your English level) with their one. Do it on a regular basis working on different texts and situations and soon you will make progress.

2. Watch your tongue

When it comes to pronunciation, you should do it in the literal sense of the word. Experiment, be attentive to the sensations you have and try to remember the feeling you get when you are making the right sound. Books on English pronunciation might help you as well because they outline the right position of your tongue while making certain sounds, provide ample recordings and exercises.

3. Have a partner

Pronunciation is closely connected with speaking and speaking – with communication. It takes at least two to communicate, so if you have a partner to practice with or, which is even better, a teacher who can correct your mistakes, it will make the process much easier and more effective.

4. Practice tongue twisters

Tongue twister is a phrase or a sentence of words which are difficult to pronounce, especially rapidly. Tongue twisters can help improve pronunciation a lot because they focus on a particular problem sound and make your speech apparatus adjust itself to it. Let’s watch a video on some popular tongue twisters and practice with it:


  • She sells seashells by the seashore.
  • How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
  • Betty Botter bought some butter.
  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • A big black bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose.
  • The blue bluebird blinks.
  • If you want to buy, buy. If you don’t want to buy, bye-bye!
  • Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.
  • Eleven elves licked eleven little liquorice [‘lɪk(ə)rɪs] lollipops.
  • Fresh fried fish, fish fresh fried, fried fish fresh, fish fried fresh.
  • Friendly fleas and fireflies.
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?
  • Greek grapes, Greek grapes, Greek grapes.
  • I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
  • Kitty caught the kitten in the kitchen.
  • Quick kiss, quick kiss, quick kiss.
  • Red leather, yellow leather.
  • Red lorry, yellow lorry.
  • I can think of six thin things, but I can think of six thick things too.
  • The big bug bit the little beetle, but the little beetle bit the big bug back.
  • Not these things here but those things there.
  • Three free throws.
  • Toy phone, toy phone, toy phone.
  • A tricky, frisky snake with sixty super scaly stripes.
  • If two witches were watching two watches, which witch would watch which watch?
  • Whether the weather is warm, whether the weather is hot, we have to put up with the weather, whether we like it or not.
  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  • Zebras zig and zebras zag.

Were you practicing the tongue twisters watching the videos? We hope so because there is no better way to improve your pronunciation than practicing speaking and challenging the problem sounds. Remember that practice makes perfect.




Reference: http:/

5 Reasons Why You Are Not Speaking English Fluently

1. You Don’t Want It Enough

Most people don’t REALLY WANT to learn English, they only KIND OF WANT to learn. Really think about it for a second, on a scale of 1 to 10 (ten being the most excited about learning) how much do you really want to learn English?

Many people come to me asking for English classes saying that they really, really, really want to learn and that they would do anything for me to start teaching them.

Sure, for the first week, sometimes even the first month, they attend every class, do the activities I ask them to do in their spare time, and sometimes they even come to the RealLife English party which we host every month to give English learners a social atmosphere where they can practice their English. Find one near you.

But soon enough that excitement to learn, all of their desire to master the language just suddenly disappears and they decide that the money they invest on English classes would be better off spent on candy crush credits and other useless stuff like that.

English or any other language cannot be learned in just one class; it actually takes some time and focus. If you feel like learning a language isn’t something that you want to invest at least 3 or 4 hours a week on, then maybe you should stick to the candy crush.

2. It’s a Resentful Work Obligation

Ok, so maybe I was a little harsh on the first point, I understand that for some people learning English is more of a work necessity than a cool hobby.

If you are being obliged to learn English because it is necessary for your job, then I wish you the best of luck. I know that the corporate world is very cutthroat [relentless] and if you don’t speak English as well as the other person in the interview then you’re probably not going to get the job.

These types of students are generally pretty honest with me, sometimes they even tell me how much they hate learning English and resent the fact that they have to spend their money on English class when they would rather be drinking beer and playing Candy Crush.

Seeing language acquisition as nothing more than a work obligation is not going to make you enjoy the process and you are not going to be motivated to learn. You must find a way to see the benefits English can have in other aspects of your life and use that as a focus point of your classes.

You spend all day at work talking about business, why don’t you make your English classes something totally different, something fun and entertaining.  I’m sure your teacher would definitely be happy to help you find a way to connect your English learning to something more pleasurable to talk about.

3. You Haven’t Made a Habit Out Of It

If you want to be good at something, you have to do it on a regular basis. Think of something you are good at, how did you become so good?

Unless you have a natural gift, you probably spent a lot of time practicing or dedicating at least 10 to 20 minutes a day to that skill. This is also a necessity when learning a language and without making a habit out of practicing, you are not going to achieve English proficiency.

A common exercise I give my students to practice in their spare time is the tour of the tenses. The objective of this is to go through the table of verb conjugations with 3 verbs a day and then present me with all the verbs they did in out next class.

This is a simple exercise and it would probably take you 5 to 10 minutes a day, if you made a habit out of it. A lot of people get lazy and decide to do all of the verbs an hour before our class and get very frustrated with it and want to give up.

What they fail to understand is that the purpose of this exercise isn’t just to practice the verb conjugations, but to start developing good habits. Leaving everything to the last minute and getting stressed is not a healthy way to learn anything, you need to pace yourself and develop convenient and stress-free habits to be able to maximize your learning ability.

Ten to twenty minutes here and there is much better for you learning than 2 hours rushed before your class.

3. You Have No Accountability

What’s that you say? You’re really busy and didn’t have any time to practice? That’s strange because your Facebook status on the weekend said “bored as hell on a Saturday with nothing to do.”

Most people don’t hold themselves accountable for their own learning. When I ask my students if they got a chance to listen to any podcasts, read an English article, or practice in any way, the typical answer is – I was too busy, and I didn’t have any time.

Maybe that’s true but I really doubt it. If you really want to learn something you are going to find time. There is no use lying to your English teacher because you are just lying to yourself. He or she doesn’t really care if you studied or not, they are not the ones that need to learn English, you are.

To help my students from lying to themselves I get them to say “I didn’t make it a priority,” instead of saying,  “I didn’t have time.” This helps the student to realize that the reason that they didn’t practice anything was because of their own problems, not because of exterior reasons.

4. You Think Your Teacher Is Some Sort of a Magician

Imagine if you could go to a magic man or a witch doctor of some kind and ask them to make a special potion that when you drink it you can suddenly speak English.

Unfortunately some people think that when you have class with a private teacher that is what happens.

Sorry but I don’t have any magic tricks or special potions. You have to realize that a private teacher is more of a tour guide. We are teaching you the way to learn English and showing the right paths to take. Holding your hand along the process and answering your questions.

If you think that 1 or 2 classes a week is enough to learn everything about English I’m sorry but you are wrong. You need to do use some initiative and be more of an independent learner.

5. You Think You Are Stupid

And lastly, I have to tell you that learning to speak English is not rocket science. Don’t over complicate things.

A lot of learners have the idea that they’re not the type of person who can learn languages, and with that kind of thinking of course you never will. To learn English you have to give yourself time, you can’t get too frustrated, and you can’t be afraid of making mistakes.

If some of your colleagues are learning faster than you that doesn’t mean that they are smarter than you. You shouldn’t feel like a dumb ass. Everyone has their own type of intelligence and their own way of learning.






(Reference:; http:/

41 unique ways to practice listening to English


Our PhraseMix Premium service gives you a super-easy way to improve your English by listening to key example sentences. But there are lots of other ways to practice listening to English, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. We’ve pulled together a big list of 41 interesting ways that you can improve your listening skill.


1. Get hooked on an English TV show.

Find an English-language drama or comedy that seems interesting, and start watching it from the beginning. Follow the storylines and get to know all the characters. Not sure what to watch? Here’s a list of some of the best TV series of all time.

How this can help:

To learn English, you have to practice consistently for a long time. When you find a TV show you like a lot, it’s easy to spend hours and hours watching it.

2. Listen in the background.

Find an English podcast (You can browse thousands of free ones on iTunes). Play it on your headphones while you work, ride the bus, exercise, or cook dinner.

How this can help:

This is another way to spend more time listening to English. It’s easier to find time to listen to English if you do it while also doing other things.

3. Listen on low volume.

Visit YouTube and find an interesting English video. Turn the volume down low so that it’s a little hard to hear. Try to figure out what’s being said.

How this can help:

In the real world, you can’t control how loudly the people around you speak. It’s good to practice trying to figure out what people are saying, even when the volume is low.

4. Listen while you read.

Visit websites and listen to one of the conversations while reading the transcript that’s included on the page.

How this can help:

English speakers often pronounce words very differently than you might expect. If you’ve learned English mostly through reading or in a classroom, you might be surprised to learn what words really sound like in the “real world”. Listening while you read along helps you to match your expectations with reality.

5. Listen to yourself.

Record yourself speaking English using your computer or phone. Play it back and listen to your own pronunciation and accent. Fix any problems that you notice and try again.

How this can help:

By listening to yourself, you can quickly find problems in how you speak. If you continue to listen to yourself over time, you can also track how much you’re improving.

6. Listen to the same sentence 30 times in a row.

Find a recording of a single sentence. You can use the lessons on PhraseMix if you’re a member. If not, use the sample audio player. Listen to the sentence on “repeat” 30 or more times in a row. Try to notice new things each time you hear it.

How this can help:

Listening to something again and again makes it “stick” in your memory. It’s a great way to remember phrases. It also allows you to notice important sounds that you might miss if you just listen once or twice.

7. Listen to an audio book.

An audio book is a recording of someone reading a book. Buy one or download a free one, and listen to the whole book.

How this can help:

Books use a wider range of vocabulary than everyday speech, so they can teach you new words. The readers for audio books also speak in a very clear and entertaining way, so they’re easy to listen to for many hours.

8. Listen to two things at once.

Get two recordings of people speaking English, like a TV show and a podcast, and try listening to both of them at the same time. Try to keep up with what’s being said in at least one of them.

How this can help:

If you’re speaking to someone in a public place like at a restaurant or a busy office, there will be a lot of people speaking at once. You will need to “tune out” all the noise and focus on the person you’re speaking to. Playing two recordings at once is a good way to practice this skill.

9. Listen to an English speaker with an accent.

Find a scene in an English movie where a character speaks with a strong accent. Try to figure out what they character is saying and repeat it in your own words.

How this can help:

Not all English speakers speak “textbook” English. You will need to communicate with people with a wide range of accents. This is one way to practice understanding people who speak differently.

10. Compare a reality TV show to a scripted show.

Watch a “reality” TV show that follows people around with a camera. Then watch a regular scripted drama or comedy and try to notice how they are different.

How this can help:

The way that people speak in scripted TV shows and movies isn’t quite realistic. It’s important to know how people speak when they’re choosing their own words.

11. Listen to a song and write out the lyrics.

Listen to a song. Try to write out the lyrics. When you think you’ve got it, look up the real lyrics online. Then try singing the song yourself.

How this can help:

Hearing the lyrics to a song can be really hard, even for native English speakers. But once you figure out what a singer is saying, it get stuck in your mind and you can remember it for a long time.

12. Listen at slow speed.

Find a way to listen to something at slow speed. Some phones have a function that allows you to do this. Audio editing software also allows you to do this. Notice how each word sounds, and whether it’s what you expected or surprising.

How this can help:

When you listen at full speed, it’s hard to catch everything. When you listen to normal speech at a slow speed, it’s easier to notice words and sounds that you would usually miss.

13. Watch a lesson by an English teacher.

Visit YouTube and search for “English lessons”. Watch a video by one of the English teachers there. Notice how the teacher simplifies the way that they’re speaking to be easier for learners to understand.

How this can help:

English teachers usually speak slowly and clearly, so they’re easy to understand. If you have trouble with understanding other people, you can try listening to English teachers for a while.

14. Listen only for intonation.

Listen to a conversation. Instead of listening to the words or meaning, pay attention only to the intonation or pitch. When do the speakers’ voices become higher or lower?

How this can help:

Intonation is a part of speech which is very important, but we usually don’t focus on it. If you want to make your English intonation more natural, you should focus on it specifically sometimes.

15. Listen only for stress.

Similar to the last point, try listening only to the stress: which words or parts of words do the speakers pronounce more loudly?

How this can help:

English uses stress heavily. When you use the wrong stress, it’s hard for English speakers to understand you. It can even change the meaning. You should definitely spend some time focusing on it.

16. Listen to a really short clip.

Using an audio or video player, try pushing “play” and then stopping it again really quickly, so that you only hear parts of words instead of the whole word. Try to repeat the specific sound that you heard.

How this can help:

When you listen to full words and sentences, your brain changes the sounds to match what you expect to hear. By playing just part of a word, you can hear the actual sounds more clearly.

17. Listen to a speech.

Listen to a speech by a politician or other leader. Notice ways that they speak which are different from everyday conversation.

How this can help:

People speak more formally in speeches than they do in everyday conversation. So listening to speeches is a good way to practice formal English.

18. Try to do an impression.

Pick an English speaker with an interesting way of talking. Try to do an “impression” of that person – try to copy their voice and way of speaking exactly.

How this can help:

Why is it hard to improve your English accent? One big reason is that it feels “strange” to speak with an accent that’s different from your own. But when you do an impression of someone, you feel free to act silly and speak differently than you usually do. This makes your speaking practice more effective.

19. Listen to one side of a conversation.

Listen to someone’s telephone conversation. Try to imagine what the person on the other side of the telephone is saying.

How this can help:

“Active” listening is a lot more effective than “passive” listening. When you try to imagine part of the conversation, your mind is more active.

20. Listen on the street.

If you’re in a place where there are English speakers around, try listening in on public conversations in shops, restaurants, on the bus, in the airport, etc.

How this can help:

This is real English. Understanding real conversations is the goal of learning English, isn’t it? It’s very difficult to understand a conversation that you’re not part of because you don’t know all of the background information. That makes this activity a great challenge!

21. Listen to the same thing every day for a week.

Pick something like a short TV show or podcast. Listen to it once a day for a week or more. The first time, pay close attention. After that, just listen again and try to remember what people are going to say before they say it.

How this can help:

When you listen to something in English for the first time, your goal is just to understand the main ideas. If you listen to the same thing again, you can pay attention to other details: what words the speakers used, their pronunciation, what mistakes they made. Listening to the same thing again and again allows you to listen more deeply.

22. Listen with a friend.

Sit with a friend and listen to a short audio clip. When it’s done, talk with each other about what you heard. Then listen again to see whose memory was more correct.

How this can help:

If you’re listening with someone else, you will pay closer attention. You can also correct each others’ mistakes.

23. Listen only for articles.

Listen to a podcast or watch a video. Instead of listening to the meaning, just try to hear the articles “a”, “an”, and “the”. Count each time you hear one of these words. Then try again and see if you count the same number.

How this can help:

Articles are very hard for English learners to get right. One reason is that we don’t usually emphasize them when we speak. If you pay close attention to articles, you might find that English speakers use them a lot more than you thought.

24. Listen to someone whose native language is not English.

Listen to someone who grew up speaking a different language, but who now speaks English fluently.

How this can help:

This exercise is great for motivating yourself. It’s inspiring to listen to someone who didn’t learn English until later in life, but was still able to become very fluent. The same is possible for you!

25. Listen to someone speaking very quickly.

Try to listen to someone who’s speaking more quickly than normal. If it’s too hard to understand, try listening to just on sentence at a time. Pause in between each sentence to allow your brain to “catch up”.

How this can help:

This is simply a good way to challenge yourself. It’s hard to understand fast speech, but if you can do it, slower speech seems so much easier!

28. Watch ‘on the street’ interviews.

News shows on TV sometimes show short interviews with people on the street. Try watching some ‘on the street’ interviews.

How this can help:

When people are interviewed this way, they usually speak in a very natural way. Watching these interviews also allows you to listen to lots of different people with different speaking styles and accents.

27. Listen to computer-generated speech.

Search for an English ‘text-to-speech’ program and paste some English sentences into it. Listen to the computer try to pronounce it.

How this can help:

The biggest advantage of listening to computer-generated English is that you can hear anything that you want, even if no one has recorded it. If you’re reading something interesting, you can paste it into a text-to-speech program and hear what it sounds like.

28. Read a sentence out loud, then listen to it.

Find a website that has audio with matching transcriptions. If you’re a PhraseMix Premium member, you can do it here. If not, you can click to read the transcript. Read a sentence out loud. Then listen to how it’s pronounced by the speaker on the recording.

How this can help:

By reading a sentence first, you’re preparing yourself to listen for differences. It’s a good way to notice if you’re pronouncing a word wrong, or if your intonation is strange.

29. Practice ‘shadowing’.

Listen to a short clip of someone speaking. Play it again and again. After listening a few times, try to repeat what the speaker is saying immediately after they say it. Keep practicing until you’re saying the same thing at the same time.

How this can help:

Shadowing is a great way to practice not only your pronunciation, but also your rhythm and speed.

30. Listen to a child.

Find examples of child between 2-5 year old speaking. Try to figure out what the child is saying and how their speech differs from adults.

How this can help:

Children speak their own special kind of English. It’s useful to be able to understand them. It’s also interesting because you can hear what sounds are easy or hard for kids to make.

31. Listen for numbers.

Listen to something and just focus on the numbers. Write down any numbers that you hear. You can try it if you listen without watching the graphics.

How this can help:

Sometimes it’s important to be able to pick specific information from what someone is saying. Numbers especially can be really important. This is a way to practice that skill.

32. Listen to a university lecture.

Pick a topic that you’ve studied or have an interest in, and find a recording of a university lecture. Several big-name universities have classes posted for free on sites.

How this can help:

University lectures use a lot of specific vocabulary which you will need if you want to talk about specialized topics. But they’re also easier to understand than you might expect because they just focus on one specific topic.

33. Listen to every episode of a podcast.

Find a free podcast that interests you and that has 20 or more episodes. Download every episode and listen to one a day until you’ve heard them all. (If you have no idea what you should listen to but you want something challenging).

How this can help:

When you listen to the same people’s voices for a really long time, you start to pick up some of their speaking habits. You also develop a kind of relationship with the podcast that makes you look forward to hearing them again.

34. Transcribe something.

Listen to 2-3 minutes audio recording and write down every word that you hear. Keep going back and playing each sentence again and again until you’ve transcribed the whole thing.

How this can help:

This is a challenging and time-consuming way to listen. But you can learn a lot by trying to hear and write down every single word. You might learn new vocabulary or find out that certain words are pronounced very differently than you thought they were.

35. Listen to a sales pitch.

Listen to an experienced salesperson trying to sell something in English. Notice how the salesperson speaks in order to sound trustworthy and convincing.

How this can help:

Good salespeople are masters of language. You can learn a lot from them about not only about how to speak, but also about what to say in order to persuade people.

36. Listen to an argument.

Watch a movie or TV scene where two characters argue with each other. Write down any phrases you hear which seem like they might be useful to you in the future if you ever argue with someone.

How this can help:

If you speak English for long enough, you will eventually get into an argument. You’ll need some practice in order to argue effectively.

37. Start listening in the middle of a conversation.

Find a long video or audio recording of two people talking to each other. Instead of starting at the beginning of the conversation, skip to somewhere in the middle. Try to figure out the topic of conversation as quickly as you can. Once you’ve figured it out, skip to another point in the recording and do the same thing. Keep doing that until you think you’ve discovered all of the topics in the conversation.

How this can help:

You won’t always join a conversation at the very beginning. You need to be able to figure out what people are talking about, even when you’re joining in the middle. This is a good way to practice that skill.

38. Listen to someone who has trouble explaining themselves.

People don’t always speak perfectly. Sometimes we have trouble explaining what we’re trying to say. There are techniques that English speakers use when they’re trying to figure out how to express themselves. Listen to someone who’s not speaking very clearly and confidently.

How this can help:

English speakers have certain phrases and sounds that they use when they’re unsure or when they hesitate. It’s important to learn those.

39. Watch a lesson on the sounds of English.

It can be helpful to listen to a teacher carefully pronounce and explain the sounds of English.

How this can help:

It’s good to know what the basic English vowel and consonant sounds are, so that you know what to pay attention to when you listen to people speak.

40. Listen to someone talk about your profession.

Listen to a conference speech, a training video, a lecture, or a conversation about your profession (your job).

How this can help:

You already know a lot about your profession. That background knowledge will help you to understand what’s being said, even if the vocabulary and grammar are complex.

41. Practice intensive listening.

Find a recording of something that you really want to understand and listen to it intensively. Stop the recording when you hear a word that you don’t know. Try to look up its meaning. Think carefully about why the speaker chose the words that they chose. Take notes on any phrases that could be useful to you in the future.

How this can help:

When you listen using your whole mind and all of your attention, you understand more and remember more. It’s hard to do this all of the time, but it’s a great way to stretch your English listening skills.

So… what do you think? Are there any new techniques here which you’ve never tried before? Do you have an interesting technique of your own that you’d like to share with other English learners? Let me know in the comments!



(Reference: http:/

6 Email Etiquette Tips that May Surprise You

Email correspondence makes it simple, easy, and convenient to quickly contact coworkers and family members across the world. However, it isn’t all roses with email. If you don’t follow proper etiquette, you can end up annoying your recipients. You’ve probably already heard about basic email etiquette tips, like using a specific subject line and replying as quickly as you can, but there is more you can do to ensure that your emails resonate with the people you send them to.

Don’t Be Sorry to Bother Someone

When you start an email with “sorry to bother you,” chances are that the recipient already feels bothered by that opening line. Those four words take seconds to read, seconds that the person could have used to find out the real point of your email. Furthermore, if you are sending a business email, you should never apologize for asking someone to do their job. You want to be polite, not obsequious.

Be Small-Screen Friendly

cell phone, mobile, Grammarly

Email is not the exclusive to desktop computers and laptops. People are always on the go, and they read their emails on mobile phones and tablets. It isn’t easy to read long blocks of text on a tiny screen. Keep that in mind when you’re composing your messages. Keep your paragraphs short and your message brief. If you must send a longer message, give a succinct summary near the beginning of the email so the recipient knows what’s in store and can go back to read the rest later.

Also, think about the font you use. Some artsy fonts may look fabulous on a computer screen, but they could strain the eyes on a mobile screen.

Think Before You CC

A blogger for Lifehack describes being copied on emails: “I’d say about 90% of messages I’ve received where I’m not in the To: field but the CC: field were completely and totally useless to me.” Indeed, oftentimes those emails, intended to keep people in the loop, just end up being irritating white noise in the inbox.

This doesn’t mean you should never CC anyone, but you should carefully consider who exactly needs the information you’re about to send.

Use BCC for Bulk Mail

Want to use email to invite the universe to your upcoming party? Maybe you want to share your vacation photos with a long list of people. Whatever the reason, don’t paste a novel-length block of email addresses at the top of a message. BCC everyone in your list. This also respects the privacy of your recipients, which is especially helpful if not everyone who receives the email knows each other.

Do Not Overload on Cuteness

Fancy graphics and fonts do not look good on all browsers and devices and can make an email difficult to read. If you cannot resist the urge to embellish, use small adorable touches that add character but don’t overwhelm a message.

Along the same lines, if you are sending photographs, it’s better to send them as an attachment rather than in the body of an email, so the email itself doesn’t take a billion years to load.

Stick to Your Grammar Guns

Email is not as formal as a handwritten letter, but you should still respect the English language. Capitalize when needed, use punctuation, and give all your emails a read-through before you hit the send button. This applies to both business and personal emails.

Email isn’t complicated, but there are some rules you need to follow to get the most out of it. Did any of these tips surprise you?




(Reference: https:/

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