B.E.L.L. Tips – How We Learn

B.E.L.L. Tips – How We Learn

Issue #60

English Tips for:

Business English Language Learners (B.E.L.L.)

How We Learn

Each week, I will send out some handy tips and useful exercises for adults learning to navigate and use the English language. Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues.

There are lots of ways we learn. We learn through study, imitation, and repetition, but studies have shown that we are more likely to retain (remember) what we learn when we put it into practice. We can watch a video or read a book, but the best way to really learn something is when we do it.

Want to boost your language learning practice?

Sign up for 1:1 coaching with me!

Grammar Tip

Difference between:

These verbs and phrasal verbs often get mixed up in translation, so here is the difference and how they should be used:

Pack Up and Take Up

Pack up – to gather your belongings

I packed up my laptop and the project files before heading home.

Take up – to start doing something regularly

I took up karate last year, and now I am a brown belt.

Affect and Effect

Affect – Use as a verb. To act on or produce change.

The cold weather affected the crops last winter.

Effect – Use as a noun. The result or consequence of something.

The effect of the cold winter was fewer crops of corn to sell.

Gone and Went

Both are variations of the verb “to go” used in different tenses, but those can get confusing too, so just follow this simple tip:

Gone – MUST have an auxiliary verb in front of it (has, have, had)

I would have gone with you, but I didn’t have any money.

Went – simple past tense – so no auxiliary verb needed.

I went to the library with you yesterday.

Reading Tip

As research shows, it turns out that humans remember:

5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture (i.e. university/college lectures)

10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading (i.e. books, articles)

20% of what they learn from audio-visual (i.e. apps, videos)

30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration

50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.

75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.

90% of what they learn when they use immediately (or teach others)

Continue reading about how people learn and retain information here: https://www.lifehack.org/399140/how-to-remember-90-of-everything-you-learn

Tip: Don’t just read about it – Practice USING English every day for a faster way to master the language.

Writing Tip

Below are some common language mistakes in emails. Rewrite the emails below, correcting the mistakes you find:

  1. Thanks for inviting me to coffee. Would you mind to send me the address so I can get directions? Thanks – I’m looking forward to see you.
  2. I am writing regarding to order number CS4789. It seems that the amount due is unusual high. Please see the attach copy of the invoice. Could you please to review it and ensure the amount is correct?
  3. We are pleased to inform that we have started making business with a new client. Starting on February, we’ll be handling customer service calls for a coffee company in United States. We’re very pleased that our company is continuing to grow up.

You can email your answers to [email protected] and I’ll let you know if you got it right!

Weekly Challenge

Using two verbs together

In English, when we want to use two verbs together, we normally put the second verb in the infinitive form (to + verb).

Example: They agreed to lower the price.

However, not all verbs are followed by the infinitive form of the second verb. Some verbs are followed by the infinitive, some verbs are followed by the gerund,

Example: I finished making all of my sales calls at around three o’clock this afternoon.

and some verbs are followed by the base form (the infinitive form without to).

Example: I had my secretary call my clients for me.

Look at each of the sentence below and choose the verb form that should be used in the blank:

  1. Claudia hopes _______ her own office one day.

    • to have
    • having
    • Both are correct
  2. Do you enjoy _______ to these type of events?

    • to go
    • going
    • Both are correct
  3. I don’t mind _______ my coworkers with their assignments.

    • to help
    • helping
    • Both are correct
  4. Michael loves _______ foreign languages.

    • to learn
    • learning
    • Both are correct
  5. I haven’t called him yet, but I plan _______ him later this afternoon.

    • to call
    • calling
    • Both are correct
  6. We need someone ________ reservations for us.

    • to make
    • making
    • Both are correct
  7. I’ve finished _______ the files.

    • to organize
    • organizing
    • Both are correct
  8. When I was younger, I didn’t like ________ presentations, but now I don’t mind public speaking.

    • to give
    • giving
    • Both are correct

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