A refreshing refreshment

šŸ˜¦ Students can take a break while they are studying in college for refreshing.

flag-of-indonesiaĀ This word has been borrowed from English and used in Indonesian as a noun. However, in English ‘refreshing’ is not a noun, and the closest noun available is ‘refreshment’, but this is used almost exclusively for food and drink.

‘Refreshing’ is an adjective:

  • Students can take a refreshing break while they are studying at college.
  • Taking a break while studying at college can be refreshing.

Refreshed and refreshing

IELTS candidates are often asked to explain why they enjoy certain activities, for example going to the beach at the weekend. In this case both the adjectives ‘refreshing’ and ‘refreshed’ might be used:

  • Going to the beach at the weekend is refreshing.
  • When I go to the beach at the weekend I feel refreshed.

Refreshing and refreshed follow the same rule as bored and boring, where the __ing form is for the source, and the __ed form is used for the receiver:

  • I feel refreshed. (receiver: I)
  • Going to the beach is refreshing. (source:Ā Going to the beach)

Refresh

Finally, you might use the verb ‘refresh’:

  • I go to the beach at the weekend to refresh myself.

Notice that in this case you must include an object: refreshĀ myself. Also notice that when you’re explaining why you do something, you use to + V1 (not for).

Further study

Check out these other examples of ‘refreshing’.

 

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It is called as ‘bad grammar’

šŸ˜¦ People call this as the ‘big data era’.

flag-of-indonesiaĀ In Bahasa Indonesia disebutĀ (called) collocates strongly withĀ sebagai (as). Not so in English. Indeed,Ā sebagaiĀ is often redundant in English, except when it collocates with certain verbs.

The correct options here are:

  1. People call this the ‘big data era’. (activeĀ call withoutĀ as)
  2. This era is called the ‘big data era’. (passiveĀ call withoutĀ as)
  3. This era is known as the ‘big data era’. (passiveĀ know withĀ as)

Most native speakers would probably use number 1, except when the term being introduced is somehow scientific:

Liquids tend to travel quickly along very narrow spaces. This phenomenon is known as capillary attraction.

Be careful. If you want to useĀ known as then you need to begin with some of the defining characteristics of the ‘known’ phenomenon:

Recently dataĀ has become soĀ complex that traditionalĀ dataĀ processing application software is inadequate to deal with it. This data is now known as ‘big data’.

flag-of-indonesiaĀ Indonesians.. Once again, be careful withĀ sebagai! It collocates differently in English.

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Ask the menu!

menu couple 450

Non-native speakers having dinner!

flag-of-indonesiaĀ This is a common mistake made by Indonesians translating ‘tanya’ instead of ‘minta’.

The options in English are (take a deep breath!):

  1. I’ll ask the waiter. (ask someone)
  2. I’ll ask the waiter to bring us the menu. (ask someone to do something)
  3. I’ll ask the waiter about the menu. (ask someone about something/someone)
  4. I’ll ask the waiter for the menu. (ask someone for something)
  5. I’ll ask for the menu. (ask for something/someone)

Most native speakers would probably use Number 5.

Notice thatĀ ask something is not in this list. The picture below shows what might happen if you ask the menu!

menu talk 300

Most menus cannot answer questions!

flag-of-indonesiaĀ Possibly there are different ways to translate the correct forms into Indonesian. I know that I’m never confident when usingĀ tanya andĀ mintaĀ in Indonesian. If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments box below!

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ļ»æBlah changed, resulting in blah!

šŸ˜¦ Sales increased dramatically reached 2,000 in July.

So, this is obviously bad grammar because there are 2 verbs in the same clause:Ā increased andĀ reached. There are three possible corrections:

1. Separate sentences

The easiest solution would be to put verbsĀ increased andĀ reachedĀ into separate sentences:

šŸ™‚ Sales increased dramatically. They reached 2,000 in July.

2. Conjunction

Another approach would be to useĀ comma + conjunction (‘and’) to join two clauses together:

šŸ™‚ Sales increased dramatically, and reached 2,000 in July.

3. Comma + __ing

A third solution is to useĀ comma + ___ing.

šŸ™‚ Sales increased dramatically,Ā reaching 2,000 in July.

This last example is little used by lower level IELTS candidates but very common in native speaker speaking and writing, particularly when describing statistical changes over time. It’s especially useful when you want to include the result of a series of changes:

Sales increased dramatically but then remained steady, finishing at 10,000 at the end of the period.

Ultimately you want to aim for variety in your grammar, and so aim to use a mix of all three structures in your writing.

Fancy a challenge?

Take a look at the highlighted area of the graph below. Can you describe what’s happening using the three structures that I have demonstrated? Answers in the comments box below!

comma __ing exercise

 

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Worthy (of) worth?

šŸ˜¦ Taking a break between school and university is worthy of their time.

OK so here it would be better to write:

šŸ™‚ Taking a break between school and university is worth doing.

And so why, in this situation, is it better to writeĀ worth rather thanĀ worthy (of)?

Worth

UseĀ worthĀ when you want to evaluate a thing, person, or action:

  • Exercise is worth doing. (positive evaluation of ‘exercise’)
  • Smoking isn’t worth it! (negative evaluation of ‘smoking’)
  • That guy’s worth a million dollars. (positive financial evaluation)

This is particularly useful when you want to evaluate claims in IELTS Task 2 writing.

Worthy (of)

UseĀ worthy (of) when you want to say that a thing, person or action deserves attention, effort, or respect. The key word here isĀ deserve:

  • He’s not worthy. (= He doesn’t deserveĀ our respect.)
  • Two incidents are worthy of mention here. (= Two incidents deserveĀ our attention.)
  • The poem is worthy of deep reflection. (= The poem deserves our effort.)

Note thatĀ worthy (of) is now considered quite old fashioned. These days it is used more often to refer to people rather than things. The last two examples would now more likely be written:

  • Two incidents are worth mentioning here.
  • The poem is worth reflecting upon.

Unfortunately there are some grammar and collocation issues relating to the word worth. Lucky for you, these are described with examples in aĀ previous post.

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It’s depend

šŸ˜¦ Happiness is depend on a person’s view of their life.

Students often mistakenly add to be to V1 to make present simple tense. It could be that they have seen other structures usingĀ to beĀ and apply the same ‘rules’ to present simple verb forms.

Let’s take a look at some structures that use to be and think about those that do not.

‘to be’ + adjective

  • Roses are red.
  • I’m tired.
  • Isn’t it hot today? (Positive: It is hot today.)

In these examples, adjectives give information about nouns: ‘red’ tells us about ‘Roses’, ‘tired’ tells us about ‘I’, etc. Notice that the verb to be needs to ‘agree’ with the subject. ‘Are’ agrees with ‘Roses’ (3rd person pluralĀ 1), ‘Am’ agrees with ‘I’ (1st person singularĀ 1), etc.

‘to be’ + noun

  • I’m a doctor.
  • These chairs are office chairs.
  • Indonesia is an Asian country.

In these examples, nouns give information about other nouns. ‘Doctor’ gives information about ‘I’, ‘office chairs’ gives information about ‘these chairs’, etc. Notice again that in each example the verb to beĀ agrees with the subject. ‘Am’ agrees with ‘I’ (1st person singularĀ 1), etc.

‘to be’ + preposition phrase

  • He’s in his office.
  • The chairs are on the back of the truck.
  • Indonesia is in south-east Asia.

In these examples preposition phrases give information about nouns: ‘in his office’ tells us about ‘He’, ‘on the back of the truck’ tells us about ‘The chairs’, etc.

‘to be’ + verb

In our opening example, to be is put beforeĀ the verbĀ depend (V1).

This is incorrect! The only timeĀ to beĀ appears before a verb is when the form of the verb is continuous:

  • My brother is preparing to sit the IELTS test.
  • This time next week I will be sitting on a beach sipping martinis.
  • In 2005 they were living in Australia.

Notice the tense may be past, present or future! Again, make sure that subjects ‘agree’ with verbs!

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Note

If you are not familiar with theĀ conjugation of verbsĀ (1st person, 2nd person, etc.), see here.

Parallel structures and IELTS

šŸ˜¦ Modern art and music can cause conflicts in existing cultural values and can cause misinterpretation or even losing their originality in cultural identity.

If you want to pack a list of items into one sentence, then these items need to be ‘parallel’. What do I mean byĀ items and whatĀ do I mean by parallel?

  • Items are usually noun phrases or verb phrases, although they are sometimes preposition phrases.
  • Parallel means that all of the items are the same type – all nouns, all verb phrases, etc.

Parallel nouns

Our opening example could be written using noun phrases only:

šŸ™‚ Modern art and music can cause conflicts in existing cultural values, misinterpretation, or even loss of originality in cultural identity.

..in which we have one verb – cause – and three nouns separated by commas:

  • conflicts in existing cultural values
  • misinterpretation
  • loss of originality in cultural identity

(Notice that the final noun is preceded byĀ or even as a substitute for and.)

Parallel verbs

Alternatively the sentence could be written using verb phrases only, again separated by commas:

šŸ™‚ Modern art and music can cause conflicts in existing cultural values, lead to Ā misinterpretation, or even result in loss of originality in cultural identity.

Parallelism and IELTS

Accurate parallel structures can help to increase your IELTS score for GRA (they’re ‘structural’), LR (noun phrases are probably the most common item), and CC (non-parallel structures are difficult to understand).

Ha! There – I just used a parallel structure built from nouns (GRA, LR, CC)!

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