Absolutely about adjectives

6th January 2023

Margaret Hale, the protagonist in the novel ‘North and South’ returns to her childhood home, and revisits her old school. The new school mistress, who has made drastic changes, cajoles Margaret into giving an impromptu lesson.

One student is having difficulty with the ‘a’ sound.

“A, an indefinite article,” said Margaret mildly.

“I beg your pardon,” said the Vicar’s wife … “ (the new teacher).

The children had been taught to refer to ‘a’ as an adjective absolute. Margaret sat down “abashed.”

“The children knew more than she did. Mr Bell turned away, and smiled.”

(Chapter XLVI Once and Now)

Mr Bell, who is a fellow at Oxford and therefore very educated, passes no comment, yet his body language sufficiently expresses his opinion.

I had not come across an adjective absolute before. I could have taken the blue pill and kept on reading, or taken the red pill; I switched over to Google and began my descent into the rabbit hole of grammar taxonomy.

Others word forms have subdivisions; nouns can be proper, concrete, collective etc, verbs can be transitive or intransitive, and there are several types of adverbs.

Fortunately, the nomenclature is more frightening than the definition. So, without further ado let’s have a rabbit about adjectives (1), starting with the adjective absolute.

Most adjectives can be modified, e.g.

London is very expensive.

The book is extremely confusing.

Studying Vietnamese is quite difficult.

However, some adjectives do not need to be modified; they are superlatives (the biggest, the tallest) or binary (either yes or no). An old joke cracks that a woman phones her mother and tells her that she is a little bit pregnant. Of course, a woman is or is not pregnant.

Show, don’t tell:

A mark of 25% is unacceptable.

The building was destroyed in the fire.

Dinosaurs are dead.

The hostages were set free.

Modifiers such as absolutely, completely, totally may be used for emphasis.

The holiday was totally perfect.

My shirt is completely ruined.

I’m afraid it is absolutely impossible for you to get into Cambridge with those grades.

Now we know why Mr Bell “turned away, and smiled.”

I mentioned the rabbit hole because there are over a dozen types of adjective. Should you be interested, here’s some links to enlighten you:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/b1-b2-grammar/adjectives-gradable-and-non-gradable

https://www.thesaurus.com/e/grammar/what-are-the-types-of-adjectives/

Notes

(1) Rabbit is London slang for talk or talking

IELTS: Be “industrious, hard-working, incredibly energetic” students

6th November 2020

IELTS Mindset 2 Unit 1:Listening

How to start turning standard English into IELTS-style answers

Tips:

Introduce your answer

Paraphrase the question

Use low-frequency words (LFW)

Think what idiom or expression is appropriate

Use intonation and stress

Speak fluently and pace yourself

For a database of idioms and IELTS – language you will need to know, click here:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/22/ielts-language-bank-idioms-and-l-fws-you-need-to-have-at-your-beck-and-call/

Example:

Last week we used these words:

city centre / industrial / residential / suburban

quite / safe / vibrant / boring / peaceful

bustling / gritty

Which adjectives could describe the four types of area ?

NEXT UP:

Speaking exercise – imagine you live in the first picture. Describe the neighbourhood and your life. However, when you get a high-paying job, you want to take out a mortgage and move to the second picture. Describe that neighbourhood.

New Barlinnie super-prison to be moved next to iconic Provan gasworks -  Glasgow Live
The Impact Of Covid-19 On Residential Living - London Belgravia Real Estate

NEXT UP:

Introducing and expanding your answer

Coffee Shop (Jin and Ru) | Cute korean girl, Ulzzang korean girl, Ulzzang  girl
Starbucks in Seoul: How the Seattle Chain Flooded South Korea

Do you like coffee ?

I like many drinks however coffee is my favourite because it tastes great and makes me wake up although too much will stop me from sleeping at night but, in my opinion, the benefits far out weigh the disadvantages.

NB (Latin – nota bene = note well, please read, important information)

  1. I didn’t answer immediately but introduced the question.
  2. Use of discourse markers to extend the answer
  3. Saying something positive and negative about the subject
  4. This was all one sentence – a complex sentence which you will need to start using in order to pass IELTS with flying colours

Try these:

  • Living in HCM
  • Free time
  • Working and studying.

New vocabulary

ubiquitous everywhere, very common

naïve innocent, inexperienced

stroll a gentle walk, for exercise (collocation: take a stroll)

a bazaar (noun) a permanent, covered market 

bizarre (adjective) very strange, unusual

absent-minded extremely forgetful

sky-high, astronomical very expensive, maybe too expensive

predictable it is possible to guess the answer, people doing the same thing

hawkers

Street _______ are common in Vietnam, and they are _________ in District 1. It is nearly impossible for a westerner to take a ________ without being approached. Some claim to sell Ray Bans or designer sunglasses, but you would have to be extremely ________ to believe they are genuine ! They are all fake, probably made in China. Many people try to _____(collocation) money by selling to tourists especially around Ben Thanh Market, a kind of _______, though this is strictly for tourists as the prices are ____________ !

Pronunciation Practice

First time in Viet Nam – First impressions of Viet Nam

A vlog by Divert Living, posted just over two years ago and which has already received more than a million hits:

[American English accent]

Try 04:44 – 04:53

” … and I asked them, ‘How much is aqua (water) ?’ Aqua’s fifteen thousand, beer’s twenty thousand … of course I’m gonna get the beer, now … it’s just as expensive as the water.”

09:00 – 0913

“Fun fact, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world … and, to go with the food, the size of the dining tables and chairs are super small.”

IELTS Speaking: intonation and stress

31st August 2020

Asian University Life Concept. Group Arkivvideomateriale (100 %  royaltyfritt) 32097208 | Shutterstock

I cannot overstate how important it is how IELTS students present their answers. Look the examiner in the eye (but do not stare !), use body language … watch interviews to see how native-speakers use their face, hands and body in everyday conversation.

Try saying the following sentences with the appropriate intonation and stress.

Intonation is how we raise or lower the pitch of our voices to express meaning for example with positive adjectives, our voices become higher, while becoming slower and deeper with negative adjectives.

Stress is how we make some words louder to show they are the important words in the sentence.

Now … practice

Example: Turn off the music – I hate that song !

Listening to 'extreme' music makes you calmer, not angrier, according to  study | Music | The Guardian

Turn off the music – I hate that song !

TIPS: decide if the sentence is positive, neutral or negative.

I love this film. I could watch it a hundred times.

My sister is such a prima donna, always taking selfies !

How much did you pay for that shirt ? Are you crazy ?

I’m not going out in this weather ! It’s raining cats and dogs.

Why are you so tired ?

I’ve been up all night studying for IELTS.

Oh, you’ve been burning the candle at both ends.

What the hell do you call this ?

Lessons Learned from a Bad Grade | Fastweb
An ‘F’ … what the hell do you call this ?

I’m going to work much harder to pass IELTS, I’m going to put my nose to the grindstone.

Wait a minute, wait a minute … hmmmm, this is a damn fine cup of coffee !

How often does my husband clean the house ? Once in a blue moon.

Now … practice stress

How old are you ? (say this as a general question)

How old are you ? (someone is acting childish)

I don’t believe it (you see someone after a long time – happy)

I don’t believe it (something bad happens – angry)

Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTgT1eENbIs

You’ve been gone so long. Where were you ? (sad and worried)

You’ve been gone so long. Where were you ? (angry)

OK, you can play with your phones, but if the manager sees you … (friendly warning)

OK, you can play with your phones, but if the manager sees you … (angry warning)

The film ? Not really my cup of tea but it was OK (quite good)

The film ? Not really my cup of tea but it was OK (just so-so)

Bored People Watching Film in : video stock a tema (100% royalty free)  1014817775 | Shutterstock
The film was OK

Young Learners, Level 1: Final Review

29th August 2020 (E. Up 1, Lessons 1 – 8)

A chance to review the language learnt over the course

What can these animals do ?

Penguins | Newport Aquarium

A penguin can jump

A penguin can swim

A penguin can’t fly

A penguin can swim however it can’t fly

Maybe Elephant Poachers Aren't as Evil as You Think – Mother Jones

An elephant can ________________

An elephant can’t _____________

An elephant can _____ however an elephant can’t ____

70 Best Fish Names for Clever, Funny, Cute, Punny Ideas

A fish can ________________ however a fish can’t ________

How many legs does an octopus have ?

Octopus PNG

An octopus has _______ legs however I have ______ .

Ask each other:

How many arms do you have ?

How many fingers do you have ?

How many feet do you have ?

How many eyes do you have ?

How many wings do you have ?

Sunday Matinées - Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) | Karachi -  Bookitnow.pk

What is it ? What are they ?

Strauss Bronx KD Skateboard for Kids 23 inch x 6 inch Skateboard - Buy  Strauss Bronx KD Skateboard for Kids 23 inch x 6 inch Skateboard Online at  Best Prices in India - Street Skating | Flipkart.com

What is it ? It is a ___________

REUZEL SKATEBOARD DECK – Custom Made Limited Edition by Michiel Walrave –  Schorem. Haarsnijder & Barbier

What are they ? Those are _________

What is the question: What is it ? OR What are they ?

Disney Princess 14" Fashion Doll Styles May Vary 78845-PKR1 - Best Buy
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Kangaroo tấn công làm 3 người bị thương ở Australia - Thế giới
We are the robots | Robots vintage, Robot, Nono le petit robot

Now … ask each other and answer

What is it ? It is a _______

What are they ? They are ______

Adjectives

Write down as many adjectives as you know … two minutes. Then write them on the board

[put class into small teams, making sure every student has a chance to write]

Join Oncub | To be a great online ESL teacher
Korean students look very happy

Tell me about these photos:

Tired students surrendering to fatigue - Strategic Psychology Canberra
Mytokri Review – Latest Coupons for Delicious Food -
Fast Car Tracey Chapman - Home | Facebook
Rolling Stones returning to North America for 15-city tour - ABC News

Young Learners, Level 1: fast, slow, noisy, quiet

22nd August 2020 [E Up U8 L3]

Objectives:

Encourage students to use at least two adjectives before the noun. (Vietnamese is similar to French in that the adjective follows the noun, so students have to think counter intuitively).

Practice using determiners (it is, they, those)

Practice sentence building (I can swim however I can’t fly)

Practice intonation and stress – avoid robot speaking 🙂

Warm up

Use appropriate hand gestures to drill the four new adjectives:

fast / slow / noisy / quiet

Thay Paul is from London. London is very big. London has many cars. Look:

U.K. Moves to End Sales of All Non-Electric Cars by 2035

Also London had many big red buses. Also, I can see many taxis. Some are black, some are blue and some are grey.

London has many big red buses. The buses are slow and noisy

(use the gestures so the students shout out the adjectives. Repeat with these pictures):

Qatar cars roam the streets of London!! - YouTube

The new blue car is ______________ and ____________

Sales of electric cars in London soar 85%

The small new white car is __________________ and _____________

The LSS Musical Theatre Company Presents: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ...

The old grey, yellow and red car is __________ and ____________

BUT … can a car fly ? Watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZU4S1G0JCk

This car is fun. It can drive and fly.

The small white car can drive however it can’t fly.

One of our students is from Korea.

Flag of Korea, South | Britannica

What do you know about Korea ? Tell me what you see ?

Use ‘fast’, ‘slow’, ‘noisy’ and ‘quiet’

Visiting Seoul: Things to Know Before Traveling to Seoul, South ...
Seoul Summer | UCEAP
1118552 Asian, music, singer, musician, K pop, guitarist, singing ...
Old Bicycle (2015) - MyDramaList

Now, you tell me … what’s that ?

Patty Ponzolon - - Backpacker in Old Korean Town | LOOKBOOK
That’s an old bike

That’s an old bike (only 1 so we use that is = that’s)

Those are old bikes (more than one so we use those are)

bikes, global, human rights, kim jong un, north korea, women, Global
Those are old bikes
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See you next week

Goodbye Korea!!! - SOUTH KOREA

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: What are they like, what do they do ?

21st June 2020

FRIENDS

Don’t judge a book by its cover

A chance to review recent adjectives, and to practise constructing longer, more detailed sentences. There are some repeated words and phrases along with some new ones.

Look at my friends – tell me what you think about them ?

What kind of people are they ? What jobs do they have ? Why do you think so ?

Personality adjectives

postive

kind / sweet / generous / nice / reliable / hard-working / friendly / dependable / life and soul (of the party) / compassionate / a good sport / trustworthy / honest / solid as a rock

friendly black guy on Twitter: "@kaceyiguess my nigga"
The Friendly Man - FILM REVIEW
Wauconda men charged with 'friendly fire' shooting of teenager
The Coach & Horses | London Evening Standard

negative

arrogant / unkind / nasty / mean (1 nasty, 2 not generous) / unfriendly / unreliable / aloof / pompous / bossy ( tell people what to do) / awkward / /difficult / hard to please / thick as a brick (very stupid) / obsequious / lazy /a screw loose (little crazy)

Lead Through Mutual Commitment, Not Compliance | ChangingWinds

 

Scatterbrain Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock
Arpit Garg's Weblog: July 2015
Angry black lady pointing finger Stock Photos - Page 1 : Masterfile

neutral

shy / ambitious / willful / unadventurous / spontaneous / emotional / talkative / exuberant / passionate / firm but fair (expression) / confident /

Ambitious asian businessman | Premium Photo
Boram T-ara Perú Queen's - Home | Facebook

Jobs

white collar: doctor, accountant, teacher, lawyer, professional / office worker

blue collar: chef, factory worker, mechanic, shop workers, fix machines etc

arts: artist, actor/tress, painter, musicians, DJs, poets, writers

Occupations: Which types of work are these ?

estate agent / consultant / plumber /PR (Public Relations) / HR / volunteer / unemployed / therapist / bouncer / shoe-shine boy / market trader / dog-walker

stockbroker / interior decorator / gambler / self-employed psychic / barista / road sweeper / security guard / pollster / politician / postal delivery worker

Barista là gì? Lương Barista bao nhiêu trong năm 2020
Bouncer Services,Bouncers Security Guard,Bouncer Security Services ...
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Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: What type of person are you ?

19th June 2020

Free Images : person, people, woman, flower, asian, model, asia ...
Angry Arabian Businessman, Arabian Businessman Expressing Anger ...
People Are Hard-Wired To Be Kind And Generous, Says Study - Good ...
Discourage Policy and Procedure Non-Compliance in the Workplace

I feel I am …

an easy-going person // a very generous lady or man // highly motivated //

outgoing // short-tempered // kind // lazy // bone-idle ! // introverted // wise //

unmotivated // easily bored // open and friendly // stand offish // organised //

The wise son's question and answer | The Jewish Star | www ...
Seinfeld GIF by Reactions | Gfycat

Read the questions then discuss.

1 Are you organised ? Can you always find your keys, books, phone, papers ?

2 Do you ever lend people money ? When and why or why not ? Do you ever borrow money ? In what situation ?

3 Do you mind, does it bother you if someone borrows your … ?

clothes // sports equipment // camera // bicycle // CDs // money // food // computer games // project workbooks //

Is there anything you would NEVER lend ?

4 Do you correct people when their English is wrong ?

Do you correct people when their Vietnamese is wrong ?

5 You feel very ill / have the flu or a cold. Do you:

go to school or work or stay in bed ? (call in sick)

stay at home but not in bed ? (catch up on TV shops, online shopping)

put on a brave face and carry on as usual ?

Carry on but let everyone know you are ill ?

6 At a shop counter, do you try to get served first (push in) or do you wait for your turn ?

7 If you have bad food in a shop, do you complain, or just leave and decide never to go back ?

8 Do you give money to street beggars ? Charities ? Do you buy things from people because they look poor ?

9 You are shopping with a full trolley. The person behind you has just one item. Do you let them go first ?

Japan's obsession with cuteness - Without Baggage

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Holiday of a lifetime !

9th June 2020

Activity: Holiday advertisement language

Holiday adverts on tv | Toluna

Present a holiday using a mixture of advertising slogans and practical information. Remember:

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

Make your voice sound excited, as if this were the best holiday ever !

Students can choose a destination of their choice. In the following blogs, I’ll include some examples from different cities.

Holiday terms:

transfers / half-board / inclusive / amenities / package tour / itinerary

Language:

breathtaking / stunning/ sensational / incredible / remarkable/ exclusive /

once in a lifetime experience/ never to be forgotten / unbeatable prices

book now to avoid disappointment/ best decision you’ll ever make

holidays to suit all budgets, from 7* luxury to backpacking

Structure:

To begin with / furthermore … additionally / the fact is … / therefore

Demonstration with an advert for London:

Best Summer Holiday Ideas for London - Picniq Blog

Now is the perfect time to visit London, England’s glorious capital. The weather is perfect for walking, so you can enjoy the lush parks, world-famous museums and incredible, unbelievable shops. There is something for everyone … and more ! Like sports ? Go to one of the many Premier League football games. Love shopping ? Everything is here – shop till you drop ! Adore culture – soak up hundreds of years of history.

Flights from TSN airport daily. Seven-day all-inclusive package tour starting from only 50m VND ! All transfers and transport included. Air-conditioned mini bus with Vietnamese-speaking guide.

Asian Tourist in London Taking Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty ...

Holiday advertising vocabulary:

Try to use as many of these adjectives and expressions as possible:

breathtaking / spectacular / unforgettable / magnificent / unique / exhilarating

once-in-a-lifetime / never-to-be-forgotten / unmissable / natural beauty 

Practical Information

visa / currency / package tour / independent traveller / full-board / excursions

Everyday idioms, everyday

3rd June 2020

Test your idioms, expressions, phrasal verbs and creative writing

London Migrant Communities: a city made and moved by migrants ...

The hustle and bustle of everyday life, seen in this photo of Liverpool Street Station in London. People coming and going, jumping on trains, rushing to work, running around like headless chickens.

An everyday scene, with everyday expressions. This article is for you to test your knowledge of idioms, after reading the previous two blogs.

Without further ado …

Don’t just stand there ! Let’s get down to some work

Life in London: blogging through time studying abroad - The Daily ...
Chop chop, jump to it

Write short sentences, or dialogues, using the following idioms and expressions.

what have you been getting up to ? // raining cats and dogs

chockablock // hold your horses // under the weather // chop chop // vicious circle

// can you follow me ? // a screw loose // not my cup of tea // kick the bucket //

cut and dry // turn over a new leaf // pull your socks up //

as much use as a chocolate teapot // let’s call it a day

You may not know some of the above, so just ask your teacher, or do an online search

Southeast Asian Student Enrollment Up 85% in Taiwan|International ...

Next up, using phrasal verbs

Write sentences using as many of these phrasal verbs as you can:

Phrasal verbs with ‘get’:

get back to studying / get on with work / get down to some work/ I get it ! (idiom) // get on with people /get on in life / get ahead in business /

Phrasal verbs with ‘make’:

make a decision / make your mind up / make a career move / a make-over /  make an effort / make or break time / what do you make of it ?

Creative Writing

Determined Latina Student Works On Stock Footage Video (100 ...

Scenario One: Two people meet on their first day at an English centre

Scenario Two: A manager has a meeting with a staff member who is always late

ONE

Introduce yourself // Where do they live // Why are they here ? //

What do they like ? // Compare music and films // What they plan to do //

Agree to be friends and study together

Transfer Students Meet & Greet: 2-3:00 p.m. - Undergraduate ...

TWO

Quick hello // Reason why staff was late today //

Manager is unhappy – wants change // Manager suggests less wages //

Must renegotiate new contract // Staff has problems at work //

Staff apologies, promises to be better

6 Ways to Keep Things From Getting Worse When Your Boss Starts ...

You can decide what the characters are like – are they:

friendly, shy, out-going, arrogant, funny, dependable, reliable, moody … ?

This will affect HOW they speak – their stress & intonation and body language.

You can decide what the locations are like – are they:

small and intimate / large and impersonal / pleasant environments / dirty … ?

GOOD LUCK !

Beginners’ English: How was your day ?

26th May 2020

How was your day ?

Weird, Funny & Cool Japanese Commercials #2 - YouTube

Did you have a good day ? So-so day or bad day ?

What is wrong here:

In the morning, I went to my company then I go to the bank. After that, I travelled to home .

Sharon den Adel Brasil on Twitter: "Happy Birthday, @tarjaofficial ...

In the morning, I went to my company then I went to the bank. After that, I travelled home (NOT ‘to home’).

Dress Code in Japan: A Guide to Appropriate Japanese Attire ...

After lunch I went the customer and we spoke about the payment. After we said goodbye, I came here !

Replace ‘went’ with: visited / travelled to / saw / had to go to / 

Occupation = work, job

verb: to dance – job = dancer

What is your occupation ?

I am a dancer

15 Black Dancers who Changed American Dance - Black History 365
4 Reasons Why India is a Trailblazer For Gender Equality in Aviation

I am a pilot

An Interview with Ahmed Allithy, Arabic Chef at Courtyard by ...

I am a chef

Pick a Competent Travel Agent – Az Region

I’m a travel agent. I books tickets and hotels and tours

What did you do yesterday ?

In the morning I went to my company and I worked (workt) with numbers because I’m an accountant. My job is interesting.

Then, I went to the bank where I withdrew money from the company account. After that, I travelled home.

I had lunch at home. In the afternoon, my husband and I saw my baby’s school. Next we went to the Vincom Mall where we ate pizza.

Finally, we went home by car.

Eating Pizza Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Adjectives– describe nouns – my job (noun) is interesting(adjective)

pronounce adjectives with feeling 

GOOD – great / fantastic / excellent / interesting

BAD terrible / boring / dreadful / awful 

Cheerful young traveler asian lady with backpack walking at the ...
Having a fantastic time
Single minded: forget marriage, South Koreans aren't even dating ...
Having a terrible boring time