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Sunday, 20 May 2018

About writing

 Your writing says a LOT about you as a person...

Are you clear and easy to understand, or sloppy and confusing?

Does your writing communicate intelligence and professionalism, or that you're someone others shouldn't work with?

Your writing also reveals your level of spoken English fluency.

People usually write at a level above how they speak, since you can take time to carefully plan and edit what you say. So if there are lots of errors in what you write, there are probably many MORE in your speech.

I want to remind you of this because I've received quite a few mails from learners recently who say they're "advanced," but communicate their true level by the very basic errors in their writing.

And in professional settings, especially, written errors are judged much more harshly than the same errors in your speech.

A quick note before we continue, though...

If you're reading these messages from me, or looking for English language learning lessons in general, you're probably not happy with how you speak...

So rather than worrying about your "level," just focus on constant improvement.

Moving on...

One of the messages I got had quite a few errors, but as you should focus on just one thing at a time as you learn, I want to look at only one of them so you don't make the same mistake in your writing and speaking.

This learner began by telling me that they "work on an American business environment."

This actually sounds pretty good, and I understand what they mean.

But it screams "unprofessional" to native speakers in the business word because it contains such a basic error.

(When something "screams" some message, it's communicating it very clearly, loudly and unmistakably, even if not actually spoken.)

Did you catch the mistake?

You don't work ON an environment, you work IN one!

This kind of mistake is so dangerous because it reveals someone communicating through translations, rather than truly understanding the language like a native.

And learning to understand the language as a native should be your goal so you speak automatically like one.

Don't you agree?

Think of an environment as a 3D space (length, depth and height), like a box. You are inside this space when in some environment. So, you're working IN it.

I live IN a jungle, but my sister lives IN a city. (Both of these are environments.)

I work IN retail. (I work in the retail environment/industry, like at a department store as a salesman.)

He works IN books as a publisher. (He works in the book publishing industry as a publisher.)

But... an individual project like a research paper, a painting, a sculpture or something else like that is what you work ON.

Think of yourself as physically over - or touching the top of something - you're working ON.

John works ON cars in his spare time. He likes to repair and sell them.

She's a reporter working ON a story.

That player needs to work ON his attitude because the rest of the team says he's not very friendly.

Does this make more sense now?

If you've understood everything in this message, you really are only a step away from fluency!

All you have to do now is continue to learn how to think like a native, NOT like a student who translates.

Students learn through their native language, and this is why they translate in their head before they speak.

But natives learn to connect words with meanings and situations directly, like we just did in the examples above.

Understand how the right kind of examples can help you think like a native?

And can you see how this makes what you learn MORE memorable so it can flow from you more freely when you speak?

Imagine how much more confidently and automatically you'd speak if you had HUNDREDS of these simple lessons!

Remember that natives aren't thinking about rules...

They're expressing meanings!

The more you can learn to do this in programs like The Fluency Course, the faster you get fluent.

It's really that simple. :)

Your English Fluency Guide

PS: If you're already changing the way you think in Master English Conversation or The Fluency Course, add even more lessons here at a great discount!

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