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10 Better English Tips From My High School Teacher

10 Better English Tips From My High School Teacher

I have a confession.

I’ve been intently following one of my Facebook friends these days – eagerly waiting for her next post. I haven’t seen her for a long time but I still think she is awesome.

I love her to bits.

This person is my high school English teacher.

She has been posting a series of tips for better English and heck it was a hit! Imagine? Free English lessons from a very credible source? Wow!

Madam (this is how we call our teachers in our school) Victoria Carbonell- Mangulabnan is a highly-esteemed Educator and a Language Editor of various published books.

I asked her if I can publish these tips here and she agreed.

One of the most important Virtual Assistant skills is being able to communicate well in English so I’m sure you’d enjoy it as much as I do…

Better English Tip #1:

Use in spite of, despite ; regardless not irregardless ; advice not advices ; jewelry not jewelries ; scissors not scissor ; information not informations ; on May 31, 2015, on May 31, in May, in 2015, in May 2015.

Better English Tip #2:

Be wary of your punctuation marks such as comma, semi-colon, colon, apostrophe, hyphen, and dash.

  • Use comma to join a series of words, phrases, and clauses.
  • Use semi-colon to join main clauses.
  • Use colon for enumeration.
  • Use hyphen for compound words.
  • Use apostrophe for contraction.
  • Use dash for elaboration.

Better English Tip #3:

Adverbs of negation: no, not, never, barely, scarcely, hardly
Adverbs of affirmation: yes, certainly, surely, absolutely, undoubtedly, definitely
Adverbs of doubt: perhaps, maybe (one word),
Adverbs of degree: much, more, most, less, least, quite (very much), too

* N.B. Use these adverbs once in a main clause or simple sentence.

Better English Tip #4:

Indefinite pronouns may be singular, plural, or singular/plural depending on the of-phrase as mass noun(singular) or count noun(plural).
e.g.
singular: one, every, each, nothing, nobody, either, neither
plural: both, few, many, several, others
singular/plural: some, everybody, all, everyone

In the case of everybody, consider possessive pronoun as singular(his/her) or plural(their) for correct verb form or (taken as one or as individuals).
e.g.
Everybody is entitled to his/her opinion.
Everybody are at their best.

Better English Tip #5:

To achieve agreement between subject and verb, note order of subject and verb, normal (SV) or inverted (VS); then from the verb according to the number and person of the subject.
e.g.
One healthy fruit is apples.
Apples are a healthy fruit.

* N.B. Predicate words do not affect the number of the verb.

Predicate word in the first example is apples; … fruit in the second.
Groups of words as subject like phrases and clauses take a singular verb.
e.g.
What preoccupies students’ leisure hours is surfing the net, reading pocket books, listening to music, or playing with musical instruments.

*N.B. Subject is a subordinate clause.

Better English Tip #6:

In any discourse, whether spoken or written there is the so-called B-M-E ingredient topped with an appropriate title.
B for beginning, M for middle or body and E for end, conclusion or resolution.

  • Ways to begin and ways to end may be similar or different but creative both in order to relay sense or meaning.
  • These varied ways can be anecdotes, parables, a line from a poem or song, a summary (end), statistics, background, et.al.
  • Purpose of which is to arouse or sustain the interest of both listeners and readers besides to express one’s viewpoint.

Better English Tip #7:

Continued from tip #6…

Middle or body contains the development of the subject/topic to include proper connectives depending on relationships of ideas.

In the course of stating insights and citations, one considers, therefore, organization (coherence, emphasis, and unity) aside from mechanics(grammar rules, punctuation marks, indentation) and content(sense or meaning).

Connectives vary from addition(and, furthermore, also), contrast(but, nevertheless, however), alternation/choice(or, nor, either-or, neither-nor, whether-or), result(thus, hence, therefore, consequently), sequence(next, finally, secondly), time(when, whenever), place(where, wherever) manner(how), person(who, whoever, whom, whomever, whose), et al.

Better English Tip #8:

Check your pronunciation according to specifications in parentheses.

  • Read (present plural verb) vs. Read (past, past participle verb)
  • Tear (noun) vs. Tear (present plural verb)
  • Record (noun) vs. Record (verb)
  • Address (noun) vs. Address (verb)
  • Thirteen(13) vs. Thirty(30)
  • Twelve(12=V) vs. Twelfth(12th = F)
  • There (expletive/directive adverb) vs. Their (possessive plural third person pronoun)
  • They’re (they are)
  • Were (past plural of be) vs. Where (adverb, interrogative pronoun) vs. we’re (we are)
  • Live (life) vs. Leave (out)
  • Certificate (noun) vs. Certificate (adjective)
  • The bag (the before consonant) vs. The umbrella (the before vowel)

Better English Tip #9:

This time check your spelling my dear.

  • Occasion
  • Recommendation
  • Accommodation
  • Receive
  • Believe
  • Profession
  • Lose (verb) vs. Loose (adjective)
  • Acknowledgment
  • Heard (past, past participle of hear)
  • Weather (noun) vs. Whether (connective)
  • Deficient
  • Efficient
  • Quite (adverb) vs. Quiet (adjective)
  • Too (adverb) vs. Two (number) vs. To (preposition)
  • Fulfillment
  • Truly
  • Finally
  • Thought (past participle of think) vs. Taught (past participle of teach)
  • Vicissitudes
  • Truthfulness

Better English Tip #10:

The right word please…

  • agree to a plan, agree with a person
  • response (noun), respond (verb)
  • condolences
  • correspondent (person or reporter), correspondence (document)
  • based on
  • on behalf of
  • continuous (interval) vs. continual (non-stop)
  • continues (verb, singular present of continue)

These tips sure are helpful! I’m glad I have my teachers in my Facebook circle. I’m even more glad that my English teacher shares good stuff!

Feel free to share this good stuff!

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Gwenn Doria

Founder and Author at Virtual Success Avenue
Hey there, awesome! I started this blog because I understand the challenges of starting out and thriving as a professional working from home. My aim is to empower aspiring and fellow Virtual Assistants by sharing tips, inspiring stories and lessons learned about the Virtual Assistant industry. Get to know me more by visiting the "About Me" page. 🙂 Cheers!