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Adjectives Bulletin Board

Adjectives Bulletin Board (Photo credit: Evelyn Saenz)

Good Double Comparatives

Double comparatives are phrases commonly used in English to express increasing or decreasing returns.

Double comparatives are often employed to underline the importance of doing or not doing a certain activity.

Here are some examples:

The more you practice, the better your performance.
The more time you spend talking to an audience, the better you get at public speaking.
The less money I spend, the less I have to worry about debt.
The less you water the garden, the less chance the plants will grow.

As you can see from these examples, the format of double comparatives is as follows:

The (more / less) + (noun / noun phrase) subject + verb +, + the (more / less) + (noun) subject + verb

Notice that with ‘more’ and ‘less’ you are comparing actions.

 

You can compare adjectives in the same way:

The darker the berry is, the juiciest it is to eat.
The faster the trains are, the more dangerous they are to ride.
The funnier the comic is, the more fun he is to watch.

The + comparative adjective + to be, + the + comparative adjective + subject + verb + (infinitive of purpose)

 

These forms can be mixed up as well.

It is equally possible to reverse comparative adjectives and end with more / less plus a subject and verb or noun, subject and verb.

The prettier the girl is, the more attention she enjoys.
The happier the mom is, the more the dad can relax.
The more thrilling the new movie is, the less the director worries about making a box office hit.

 

 

In spoken English, we also use double comparatives called clichés.

The more the merrier
which means…
The more people there are, the merrier everyone will be.

 

We can turn the double comparatives into commands:

 

Study more, learn more.
Eat less, move more

Play less, study more.
Work more, earn more.
Think harder, get smarter.

 

Bad Double Comparatives

Here are some examples of the incorrect use of two comparative forms together.

This ice cream is more tastier than that sorbet.
He is more funnier than Jack is.
Susan is more taller than Jane.

In this case, ‘more’ is not required as the comparative adjective form. The sentence is modified by the addition of ‘-ier’.

Double Comparatives to Show Change

And finally, double comparatives are also used to show a continual increase or decrease.

There are more and more women attending college these days.
It seems like there are fewer and fewer items being made in America.
Ultimately, people will find more and more time to spend with their families.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about double comparatives. Let me know of any examples you can think of.

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Audience

Audience (Photo credit: thinkmedialabs)

If you’re anything like most of my English students, you’re probably constantly looking for new ways to practice your oral English and speak spontaneously.

Giving a presentation can provide that platform to practice. It can also do the following:

  •  it gives the presenting student a good opportunity to practice unaided speaking
  •  it gives the other students good listening practice
  •  it increases the presenting student’s confidence when using English
  •  it can be good practice for the real situation for those students who may actually need to give presentations in English in their professional lives
  •  it is an excellent generator of spontaneous discussion

What is a presentation, anyway?
It is a verbal report presented with illustrative material, such as slides, graphs, etc.  by one person to a group of people introducing and describing a particular subject (for example: a new product, company results or a proposed advertising campaign).

For this article we are considering the use of presentations for speaking practice.

Let’s begin exploring how to prepare an English presentation to an English language class.

1.           CHOICE OF SUBJECT

The first question that goes through any student’s head when presented with this task is ‘What will I talk about?’

If you have anything of interest that you want to share with others such as: hobbies, professional activities, past holidays etc., this can be a starting point.

Sometimes when making a presentation, a student may discover a hidden talent like performing a stand-up comedian routine, or juggling act.

Everyone has an interest or skill that is particular to them and may be of potential interest to others. After having dug a little into your mind, you can record the interests on paper as you narrow down the topic of your proposed presentation.

Only if you are at a complete loss do you need to ask for help from the teacher or a friend. But be imaginative.

2.           TIME LIMIT

It need not be a long presentation, just 5 or 10 minutes, plus questions. Practice reading the presentation with a timer to determine how long it is.

Read it in a normal tone and pace. Pause after each sentence to give yourself time to breathe and most of all relax.

In reality, it is far more difficult to prepare and give a 5-minute presentation than a 20-minute one. In addition, once underway, most students very often overrun on their time.

3.           EQUIPMENT

This will be governed by your environment. The main thing is to use support material and visual aids.

The bare minimum would be a whiteboard or flipchart. If you have an Overhead projector or data show projector so much the better.

Bring in additional materials, for example wall maps or samples or other realia like tools or objects discussed in your presentation, if allowed.

 4.           PREPARATION

 

No doubt, preparation is the key element of any presentation. There is no getting around this one.

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. It will give you confidence on the day. You can use homework and/or classroom time for preparation. You can ask for help from the teacher to further explain what you need to speak about.

Remember that lack of preparation may lead to failure, and the last thing you want to do in front of class is to present a failure.

5.           THE PRESENTATION

You may wish to read up on the principles of presentations, just to take the edge off of your nervousness.

Depending on your objective, are you giving a ‘presentation’ as an end in itself, or are you using presentations as a means to practice English? In any case, learning the value of preparation and signposting will help.

As a student, you are watching the teacher presenting all the time and probably take for granted the sheer mechanics of presentation and don’t notice the butterflies she may have before her lessons.

Learn from the presenters, and emulate them.

6.           KEYWORDS AND NOTES

Remember that the objective is not to come to class, show everybody the top of your head and read a text.

The objective is speaking, admittedly prepared, but without a text.

Key words, yes! Notes, yes! But no texts, don’t read the presentation, present it.

Again, prepare your notes or keywords.

 7.           QUESTIONS

Presenters usually indicate to their audience when they will answer questions – i.e., during or after the presentation.

It may be best to encourage question-taking after rather than during the presentation.

This will give you more time for uninterrupted, unaided speech and avoid any danger of the presentation itself degenerating into a free-for-all.

A well managed Q&A session at the end of the presentation is of real value. Don’t be afraid of silence! Students need time to think of and formulate questions.

 8.           PEER FEEDBACK

Again, depending on the audience, level and culture, you may wish to invite feedback from other students on your performance.

You can give the audience a prepared feedback form, listing the points to watch out for and comment on. But be very careful, some nationalities will be unwilling to, as they see it, ‘pass judgment on’ their colleagues.

At lower levels, students may be totally deflated by such feedback. In all cases, the audience should be looking for positive points at least as much as for negative ones.

This can be a useful activity, but if in doubt, it’s probably best avoided.

The important point is that this type of verbal practice exercise should have a positive, beneficial result – Improved oral communication.

Most of all have fun doing it.

Presentations will build self confidence and give you a platform to practice speaking English.

Do you like to give presentations in any language?

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free speech 2

free speech 2 (Photo credit: dogwelder)

Speak and talk, saying the same thing

 

Speak now or forever hold your tongue  (not literally) remain quiet.

On my journey I was approached by a woman who said, “You speak with nobody on the telephone.” She saw me using my mobile phone and wanted to tell me not to use it inside.  What she should have said was, “You can’t talk on the telephone in here.”

‘Speak’ and ‘Talk’ are often used interchangeably.

‘Speak’ is often used when someone is speaking to a group of people in general.

Examples of various ways to use ‘Speak’ include:

to talk or utter words – “ I was so shocked I could hardly speak.”;

to communicate thoughts or feelings – “I want to speak my mind while I still have the courage.”;

used with languages – “Max speaks both English and Swedish”;

to be on good terms with someone – “We used to speak on a daily basis, but not anymore”;

to make a speech – “My sister will now speak to the crowd to quiet them down.”;

to express something in writing – “His prose speaks of such joy and hope for his people.”;

nonverbal communication – “Their actions speak louder than words.”

to indicate a sign of something – “ Her posture spoke of self confidence and high character.”

Speak also tends to used in more formal situations.

“The President will now speak to the nation in his weekly State of the Union address

 

Verb Forms: Speak – Spoke – SpokenSpeaking

 

Do you tend to speak first and then get talked about later?

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