Tagged: part 3

Not everything is ‘convenient’

ūüė¶ Physical shops are more convenient than online stores. Firstly, in physical shops customers are able to touch goods and try on clothes. Secondly, shopping in physical shops can be a social activity.

There is a category of physical store aptly named ‘convenience stores’. Many countries have 7 Elevens. In Indonesia we have Indomaret, Alfamart and Circle K.

flag-of-indonesia Indonesians might call a shop that sells everything at a low price ‘convenient’. However, the prices in convenience stores like Circle K can be quite a lot higher than average. These shops inflate prices precisely so that they can offer ‘conveniences’:

  • they are numerous, especially in cities
  • they have ample parking if they are situated on a road
  • they can even be found inside large shopping centres
  • they stock items that most people need on a daily basis
  • they provide fast and efficient service

These are all features that most people would consider ‘convenient’. In English if something saves you time and effort then it is ‘convenient’. Being able to touch goods is not a matter of ‘convenience’. It may be practical, but it is not what most people would call ‘convenient’, and neither is meeting your friends when you go to physical stores.

For your convenience, here are some definitions of ‘convenience’, as well as some pictures of convenient things.



Book or film?

Students, especially Indonesian students, often tell me that they would much rather watch a film than read a book. Reading is boring, they say.

I would like to invite you to think again about reading.

My teaching colleagues and I would all agree that reading novels is fun, and we all recommend this kind of ‘extensive’ reading to our students. Most of us would also agree that when a film is made based on a book, the book is always much more satisfying than the film of the book.

Let’s try an experiment. Let’s see which you¬†prefer – the book or the film? First you’re going to read¬†and listen¬†to a short text. Then you’re going to watch¬†a movie¬†clip based on the same text. Finally you’ll reflect on the experience and think again about which¬†you¬†prefer – reading or just ‘watching’.


1. Read the text shown in the clip below and¬†use your imagination to picture what’s going on in the ‘story’. Think carefully about the imagery and about characters in the story. What do the people in the story look like?¬†Where are they?


2. Now watch the ‘movie’. Compare what you see in the film to what you saw in your mind as you were reading. Did you ‘see’ the same things? How are the images in the video different from the images you saw in your mind when you were reading?


3. So what do you think? Do you still prefer watching somebody else’s thoughts.¬†Who is the best ‘director’? You when you read? Or someone else when they read?

I’d be very interested to¬†know¬†your thoughts about reading vs. viewing. What are your¬†preferences and why? Please comment below.

And why do you think I showed a picture of an iceberg as the featured image for this post?


Is it worth it?

This post comes with a fun challenge. Continue reading or jump straight to the challenge!

ūüė¶ Is it worth to spend¬†large amounts of money on space exploration?

flag-of-indonesia¬†This is an expression that doesn’t really have a nice translation in Bahasa Indonesia, and so I seldom hear it from students. But it’s extremely¬†common in spoken and written English, and so it’s one you should learn to use.

This is the correct collocation:

ūüôā Is it worth spending¬†large amounts of money on space exploration?

Possible answers include..

  • Yes, it’s (it is) worth it.
  • Yes, it’s (it is)¬†worth spending money on space exploration.
  • No, it isn’t (it is not)¬†worth it.
  • No, it’s (it is)¬†not worth it.
  • No, it isn’t¬†(is not)¬†worth spending money on space exploration.

When you ask “Is it worth it?” you’re asking..

  • Is it basically¬†more advantageous than disadvantageous?
  • Is the extra expense justified?
  • Is the additional time investment justified?

And so we have the idiom “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!” If you’re investing extra time and/or money into¬†a job or task, then¬†it would be a sin¬†to put in¬†less than 100% effort:


And now for the challenge. Can you think of 5 activities¬†that require additional time, effort and expense but are still worth it? Comments below! ūüôā


Were you able to bargain for IELTS?

ūüė¶ Budi tried to teach himself IELTS¬†but made no progress. Then he discovered¬†¬†@eapguru and last Saturday¬†he¬†could¬†achieve band 7.0.

Ok,ok.. I made this one up. It may look like¬†shameless¬†self-promotion, but it’s a problem I often see in student writing. Honest.

Consider this scenario:

When @eapguru first arrived in Indonesia he could speak only English and French. Now, after 20 years in Indonesia, he can speak Indonesian fluently. Last weekend he bought some bananas from the local market and he was able to negotiate a reasonable price.

Here there are two kinds of ability:

  1. A permanent ability that existed/exists continuously over time (“..he could speak../..he can speak..”). Note that this can be past or present.
  2. A temporary ability in the past that existed momentarily, relating to a particular event (“..he was able to negotiate..”). Note that this is always past.

So if we return to the original problem:

ūüôā Budi tried¬†to teach himself IELTS¬†but made no progress.¬†Then he discovered¬†@eapguru¬†and last Saturday¬†he was able to achieve¬†band 7.0.

Note that the temporary ability was required in a situation that was difficult and required effort / struggle.


Special for Costumer

Costumer customers?!



ūüė¶ Apple stores had more costumers than any other store during the period.

Strange that members of this particular profession should be so attracted to iPhones and Mac computers!

Compare costumer and customer!

ūüôā Apple stores had more customers than any other store during the period.


Consumptive consumers?!


ūüė¶ Advertising tends to¬†make people more consumptive.

Once upon a time consumption meant ‘wasting away’, but in the context of tuberculosis, not shopping. Of course these days¬†consumption is still a kind of wasting, but not as life-threatening!

The modern habit of wasting money on wants rather than needs is consumerism:

ūüôā Advertising tends to make people more consumeristic.

Compare: consumptive and consumeristic.


Earning money vs. earning dollars

ūüė¶ Just like their male counterparts, many Australian women earn money 2,000 dollars per month.

If a ‘unit’ can correspond¬†to more than one different¬†noun, then you need to specify your¬†noun:

Good morning. Can I help you?
I’d like 2kg of rice, please.

In this example, kg could apply to many other¬†nouns: potatoes, chocolate, etc, and so it is necessary to be specific about ‘rice’.

On the other hand if the unit can only correspond to a single noun – unambiguously – ¬†then there’s no need to mention that noun:

Good morning. Can I help you?
I’d like to withdraw 1,000 dollars, please.

In this example, ‘dollars’ clearly corresponds to ‘money’, and so it is redundant to say “1,000 dollars of money”.

If we apply this to the original problem then we get:

ūüôā Just like their male counterparts, many Australian women earn 2,000 dollars per month.