This one and those ones

😦 Teachers should shift from individual learning to collaborative one.

flag-of-indonesia Here an Indonesian student is translating ‘yang’ but running into trouble because ‘learning’ is uncountable.

This is easy to solve by converting ‘individual learning’ into a countable noun:

🙂 Teachers should shift from an individual learning style to a collaborative one.

Notice, too that the same kind of translation is possible with plural count nouns:

🙂 Collaborative tasks are better than individual ones.

However, this is rather informal and is used more in speaking than in writing.

@eapguru

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When should I use ‘have to’?

😦 I’m sorry I’m late. My wife is sick and so this morning I should take my son to school. And I’m sorry but I should leave early today to take him home.

OK so this is an Indonesian student over-translating ‘harus’ as ‘should’. Actually there are situations when we have to use ‘have to’ instead of ‘should’. Take a look at the following examples and try the exercises that follow.

As a teacher I have to [1] get up early on work days because I have to [2] be in class at 8 o’clock. I drive to work, although I should [3] probably use a motorcycle, which is faster and more convenient in Bali.

When I was a musician I didn’t have to [4] get up early. On the other hand I had to [5] be on stage most evenings at 8 o’clock. I had to [6] drive to gigs because I had to [7] carry many drums. I know what you’re thinking – I should’ve [8] chosen a smaller instrument like the violin. Yes, but then I would have had to [9] play the violin!

Discussion

  1. In which situations do/did/would I have a choice?
  2. In which situations do/did/would I NOT have a choice?

Complete the rule:

In the present:

  • we use ________________ to talk about situations when it is a good idea to do something, but we have a choice. (We probably don’t do it!)
  • we use ________________ to talk about situations when we have NO choice. (We do it, even if we don’t want to!)

In the past:

  • we use ________________ to talk about situations when it would have been a good idea to do something, but we didn’t do it, even though we had a choice.
  • we use ________________ to talk about situations when we had NO choice. (We did it, even if we didn’t want to!)

(scroll down for answers!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion

  1. In which situations do/did/would I have a choice? [Answer: 1,2,4,5,6,7,9]
  2. In which situations do/did/would I NOT have a choice? [Answer: 3,8]

Complete the rule:

In the present:

  • we use should to talk about situations when it is a good idea to do something, but we have a choice. (We probably don’t do it!)
  • we use have to to talk about situations when we have NO choice. (We do it, even if we don’t want to!)

In the past:

  • we use should have + V3 to talk about situations when it would have been a good idea to do something, but we didn’t do it, even though we had a choice.
  • we use had to to talk about situations when we had NO choice. (We did it, even though we didn’t want to!)

When corrected, the opening example reads as follows:

🙂 I’m sorry I’m late. My wife is sick and so this morning I had to take my son to school. And I’m sorry but I have to leave early today to take him home.

Hope that helps!

@eapguru

 

Lemon Squeezy

Another song from eapguru – this time to practice the words ‘easy and ‘difficult’. See also this earlier post for further practice of these not-so-easy items!

A free handout with lyrics and tasks for students accompanies the song. The video features Indonesian EAP students preparing to study abroad. Enjoy!

@eapguru

Make me ______!

😦 Routine activities make our hearts are happy.

flag-of-indonesia I’m not sure why Indonesian students run into problems with make, especially when make is tied to an adjective –  as it is in this example. The Indonesian structure is exactly the same as the English:

verb noun adjective
🇮🇩 membuat orang senang
🇬🇧 make someone happy

Buat orang senang = Make someone happy = Make + noun + adjective

🙂 Routine activities make our hearts happy.

Of course make can also be tied to a verb:

🙂 She made me do it!

In this case you need the structure:

subject + make + object + V1

So, make is actually easier to use than you might think:

  • She makes me happy (adj).
  • She makes me laugh (v).

@eapguru

Photos that never forget

😦 I keep my photos because they can memorise the moment.

But in order to memorise anything they would need consciousness, which is of course impossible. A photograph does not have a brain:

memorise

Only humans can memorise things, so perhaps you mean:

🙂 I keep my photos because they help me to remember the moment.

Be careful with ‘memorise‘. We don’t usually memorise ‘moments’. We generally memorise information, and this often requires continued and intensive concentration. For example if you want to remember somebody’s phone number, you must first of all memorise it. The memory of the number then stays in your head ready for the next time you need it. With a photograph, the memory might not stay in your head. Rather, you remember the moment whenever you look at the photograph. In this sense the photo acts as ‘a reminder‘.

flag-of-indonesia Indonesians would do well to read through the previous paragraph and consider the translations of ingat and its forms, and also hafal and its forms.

@eapguru

 

My yard is wide

😦 Of course I love my house. It has a yard. Actually it’s not a very wide yard.

flag-of-indonesia Here an Indonesian candidate is translating ‘luas’ (lit. ‘wide’).

In English, ‘wide’ is one of several dimensions (including ‘long’, ‘deep’, etc.), and doesn’t really communicate the idea of overall size.  If you tell me your yard is wide, I immediately want to know whether it is long. Then I might be able to decide whether it is big or small. For example, a yard might be 10m ‘wide’, but only 10cm ‘long’.

To communicate the idea of overall size – when speaking about the land next to or between buildings – it would be better to say:

🙂 Of course I love my house. It has a yard. Actually it’s not a very big yard.

More academic synonyms for ‘big’ might include ‘spacious’, ‘expansive’.

@eapguru

Labouring over ‘labourers’

😦 Some people claim that working hours for labours in factories are too long.

flag-of-indonesia Here an Indonesian student is trying to find a synonym for ‘worker’. Unfortunately the hierarchy of ‘work’ is labelled differently in English.

In English a ‘labourer’ (‘labour’ + ‘er’) does work that distinguish him or her from other kinds of worker:

  • Labourers are usually unskilled.
  • Labourers often have to use physical strength because their work requires them to lift and carry things.
  • The work of labourers is generally outdoor work.
  • Labouring is often dirty work.
  • Labouring is not very well paid in most countries.

Here are some pictures of ‘labourers’.

If you want to use a synonym for ‘worker’ then try to consider:

  • where the work takes place
  • the level of skill involved
  • the salary it attracts

These considerations will lead you to a more accurate label for the work you are talking or writing about. In IELTS a more accurate label is also likely to get you a higher score for Lexical Resource (vocabulary).

This dictionary entry offers a wide selection of labels for different kinds of work.

Other word forms and idioms

Labourer – the person (countable)

Labour – noun (uncountable, abstract meaning)

Labour – verb

Laborious – adjective (Sometimes skilled work can be ‘laborious’, especially if it requires physical effort or is repetitive).

Hard labour – A form of punishment used by tyrannical governments, often for political prisoners. If my work feels like hard labour, it’s very hard work!

In labour – Giving birth!

Labour over something – Work extra hard at a task.


@eapguru