B.E.L.L. Tips – Skydiving

B.E.L.L. Tips – Skydiving

Issue #67

English Tips for:

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


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.

Why would you jump out of a perfectly good plane? Some people enjoy this crazy sport, so this week we will look at the sport of skydiving.

Grammar Tip and Writing Practice

Language Level C2

Subject-Verb Inversion – Inversion means reversing. In an English sentence, the word order is usually subject + verb. Subject-verb inversion is when the verb comes before the subject or verb + subject. Here’s an example:

Normal – I have never seen such a beautiful sunset.

Inverted – Never have I seen such a beautiful sunset.

Why would we use subject-verb inversion? It is usually done to emphasize something. In the example above, starting the sentence with Never have emphasizes how beautiful the sunset is more than the first sentence. The first sentence focuses the attention on “I” because that is the beginning of the sentence.

Practice: Rewrite the sentences below, inverting the subject and verb and examine how the meaning changes.

  1. If I had known how difficult the training was, I would not have signed up to run the marathon.
  2. We cannot accept credit cards under any circumstances.
  3. She did not offer to help me, at any time.
  4. I have never had such bad service!
  5. If I had been there, this problem wouldn’t have happened.
  6. I, in no way, want to be associated with this project.
  7. They had no sooner eaten dinner than the ceiling crashed onto the dining table.
  8. People rarely appreciate this musician’s talent.

Reading Tip

Language Level B2

Never would I ever jump out of an airplane (even if it was crashing)! So I wanted to learn why people would do this. If you are curious too, read this article: TOP 5 REASONS WHY PEOPLE SKYDIVE

Listening Tip

All Language Levels

Watch this short video about indoor skydiving and listen to native English speakers. Turn on the CC to read the language in subtitles.

video preview


Language Level B2

Skydiving vocabulary:

  1. AAD – Automatic Activation Device. The device that opens the parachute in case the diver cannot.

2. AFF – Accelerated Free Fall. A training method used in modern skydiving.

3. Burble – A pocket of ‘dead air’ (or turbulence) downwind of an object traveling through the air.

4. Canopy – Another name for a parachute.

5. Container – The backpack that holds the parachute and other equipment.

6. Dirt Diving – It takes place on the ground (and has skydivers walking around each other to simulate their positions in the sky) to practice before jumping.

7. Off Landing – A skydiver is unable to land in the dropzone’s official landing area and makes that landing somewhere in the outside world.

Weekly Challenge

Language Level B2

People often make the mistake of using a lot of words to show others how proficient they are in English. However, business professionals in the U.S. prefer communication that is succinct.

Practice rewriting the following sentences to make them more concise:

  1. The creditor must first establish that the debtor is undoubtedly bankrupt.

2. Our main role is to raise money by way of donations in order to fund the works of these charities.

3. Professor Smith was picked by each and every person on the committee.

4. As a matter of fact, Pleasantville has a strong position in the forestry industry.

5. The student needs to obtain high marks in science in order to study medicine.

6. The manager will, insofar as is possible, make sure that the information is true and accurate.

7. We will send out brochures to the general public.

8. You must be willing to challenge yourself in order to get the most out of your education at university.

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