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Showing posts with label Expressions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Expressions. Show all posts

August 10, 2022

Showing Strong Feelings: Love, Sadness, Sympathy, Condolence, Embarrassment, and Anger

A. Asking about Feelings / Thoughts
Showing Strong Feelings
  • How do you feel about it?
  • What do you have in mind?
  • What are you thinking about?
  • Do you have something on your mind?
  • What are you looking so serious about?
  • Is something bothering you?
  • Are you worried about something?
B. Expressing wonder / curiosity
  • I wonder what it really is.
  • I was just wondering how to do it.
  • I wonder why he could do such thing to her
  • I wonder if she likes studying here.
  • I wonder at her directness.
C. Expressing Love
  • I love you.
  • I really love you and I always will.
  • I truly love you endlessly.
  • I’ll never stop loving you.
  • My love will never cease till the end of time.
  • There’s nothing that compares with my love for you.
  • Words can never describe my love for you.
  • Words fail to convey how much I love you.
D. Expressing Sadness
  • I’m so sad I don’t know what to do.
  • Please leave me alone.
  • I’m very sad to see / hear that.
  • My heart is so burdened.
  • I can’t describe my pain and sorrow.
  • It has brought me a lot of misery.
  • I regret having to do this.
E. Being Sympathetic to Less Serious News
  • Oh no! What a pity!
  • What a shame!
  • What a nuisance!
  • Poor you.
  • How awful!
  • How annoying!
  • That’s life!
  • Too bad!
  • I hope it’s nothing serious.
F. Being Sympathetic to Very Sad News
  • How awful!
  • How terrible!
  • I’m really sorry to hear that.
  • That must’ve been awful!
G. Expressing Condolence
  • We are thinking about you at this difficult time.
  • My condolences in your bereavement.
  • Please accept my heartfelt sympathies.
  • I’d like to express my deepest condolences.
  • I am so sorry for your loss.
  • You have my deepest sympathy.
  • I am so sorry that ..(a person).. has passed away. May your memories comfort you.
  • May God comfort you.
  • We are praying for you at this difficult time.
H. Cheering someone up
  • I can see why you’re so sad ..., but ....
  • Take it easy.
  • Calm down.
  • I don’t think it’s a big deal.
  • Oh, you poor thing!
  • Sorry about that.
I. Expressing Embarrassment
  • It made me ashamed.
  • I was very embarrassed / ashamed.
  • How embarrassing / shameful!
  • Tell me it never happened.
  • What a shame!
  • Shame on me!
  • I don’t think it’s a big deal.
  • That’s all right.
  • Forget it.
  • Come on! It can’t be as bad as all that.
J. Expressing Anger
  • I’ve never been so insulted in my life.
  • I can’t take this anymore!
  • This is extremely irritating!
  • I’m very unhappy / displeased with ....
  • What do you mean?
  • You’ve made me angry.
  • Why on earth did you do that?
  • Are you trying to tell me that ...?
K. Calming someone down
  • Calm down. I didn’t mean it.
  • Relax. Take it easy.
  • Don’t be so touchy.
  • Don’t be angry with me.
  • Temper, temper.
  • Don’t let it bother you.

August 05, 2022

Giving And Asking For Permission, And Making And Responding To Preventions In English

Asking For Permission
riting this material reminds me of one of the most amusing experiences that I have had during my long years of being an English teacher. That day, I was teaching a class when a boy student got up from his chair and walked to me. Then he spoke to me in Indonesian, asking for permission to go to the bathroom. I rejected and asked him to use English. Responding to my requirement, he said, "Sir, I am toilet." And the class burst out laughing.

Do you know why? Yes, the sentence "Sir, I am toilet." is NOT the correct expression to say when you are requesting or asking for permission to leave the classroom and go to the bathroom. Now, in order for us not to make a similar mistake when we are requesting permission, let's study the following expressions.

A. Using Modals: "Can I", "Could I", "May I":
Using "Can I", "Could I", "May I"Verb 1
Can I
Could I
May I
go to the bathroom?
use your car?
close the door?
Giving permissionRefusing to give permission
Yes, you can.
Sure, please do.
Certainly, go ahead.
Yes, of course
No problem
By all means.
Yes, why not?
No, sorry.
I’m sorry, you can’t.
No, I’m afraid not ....
I'm afraid you can't do that.
You're now allowed to ....
You should not ....
B. Using "Would you mind ...?":
Using "Would you mind if ...?"subject + Verb 2 (Simple Past)?
Would you mind ifI went to the bathroom?
I used your car?
I closed the door?
Giving permissionRefusing to give permission
No, not at all.
Certainly not.
Please do.
No, go ahead.
I'm sorry, you can't.
Yes, I would.
C. Using "Do you mind ...?":
Using "Do you mind if ...?"subject + Verb 1 (Simple Present)?
Do you mind ifI open the window?
I leave now?
I close the door?
Giving permissionRefusing to give permission
No, I don't.
No, not at all.
Certainly not.
Please do.
No, go ahead.
I'm sorry, you can't.
Yes, I do.
Note: Be careful when responding to a request using "Would you mind ...?". The response "Yes, certainly" would indicate that "you would mind". Hence, if you have objection to the request and do not want to give permission, the response should be "Yes, certainly", "Yes, I do". If you have no objection, the appropriate response would be "No, I don't mind", or "No, please be my guest."
D. Using Other forms:
Using "wonder"subject + could + Verb 1 (Simple Past)?
I wonder ifI could borrow your dictionary.
I could use your car.
Giving permissionRefusing to give permission
Yes, certainly.
Please do.
Why not? Go ahead.
I'm sorry, you can't.
I'm sorry, but I'm still using it.
E. Making Preventions:
Making Preventions
I wouldn’t do that if I were you.
I wouldn’t take the risk if I were in your shoes. It’s too risky.
(I think) it’s not a good idea.
Responding to Preventions
Allright. I’ll consider that.
I’ll think about that.
I’ll think it over.
I’ll reschedule my plan.
Please do.
Why not? Go ahead.
F. Example Dialogues.
Short Dialogue 1
Man : Excuse me, could I try this shirt?
Woman : Yes, please. There's a fitting room over there, near the counter.
Short Dialogue 2
Man : Do you mind if I use your computer to type this letter?
Woman : No, not at all. Please do.
Short Dialogue 3
Woman : May I open the windows? It's very stuffy here.
Man : I'm afraid you can't. The wind is very strong outside.
Short Dialogue 4
Man : Can I put my luggage here?
Woman : That's okay, but please don't be too long.
Write short dialogues like the above examples about permissions based on the following situations.
  1. Your camera is out of battery. You want to borrow your friend's camera.
  2. It's getting late. You should leave your friend's house and go home.
  3. It's very windy and dusty outside. You want to close the windows.
  4. You forgot to bring your charger. You need to use your friend's phone charger.
  5. You want to turn on your television.
  6. You want to go to a movie with your best friends.
  7. You want to visit your friend at the hospital this afternoon. You ask for permission to your mother.
  8. You cannot use your motorcycle to come to your friend's party. You ask your best friend to lend you his motorcycle.
  9. Your pen suddenly runs out. You want to use your deskmate's pen but he is still using it.
  10. You want to go to the beach, but your parents do not allow you to go because the weather is bad.
Prev: 51611 1201PM PV192

May 23, 2022

There + be: 'There is' And 'There are'

ook at the picture of a livingroom on the left. We can describe the existence of things in the room by using "there is" and/or "there are". The examples below talk about the existence or presence of things in the livingroom by using "there is" and "there are". Pay attention to them.
  • There is a window in the livingroom.
  • There is a sofa next to the window.
  • There is an orange carpet on the floor.
  • There is a standing lamp next to the sofa.
  • There is a wooden shelf beside the window.
  • There are some books and a photograph on the shelf.

A. Using "There is" and "There are"
I. Countable Nouns
Singular Nouns:
+: There is (There's) + singular noun
?: Is there + singular noun?
-: There is not (There isn't) + singular noun
Example sentences:
  • There is (There's) a big tree in the garden.
  • There is (There's) a book on that shelf.
  • There is (There's) a car in the garage.
  • There is (There's) the book you're looking for.
  • A: Is there a book in the bag?
    B: Yes, there is. / No, there isn't.
Plural Nouns
+: There are + plural noun
?: Are there + plural noun?
-: There are not (There aren't) + plural noun
Example sentences:
  • There are big trees in the garden.
  • There aren't many books on that shelf.
  • There are three cars in the garage.
  • There are the books you're looking for.
  • A: Are there many books on that shelf?
    B: Yes, there are. / No, there aren't.
  • A: How many students are there in your class?
    B: There are twenty.
II. Uncountable Nouns
+: There is (There's) + uncountable noun
?: Is there + uncountable noun?
-: There is not (There isn't) + uncountable noun
Example sentences:
  • There is (There's) some money in the drawer.
  • There is some tea on the table.
  • There is some ice in the fridge.
  • There is not (There isn't) any money in the wallet.
  • We can't go skiing. There is not (There isn't) any snow.
Note: "Some" is usually used with positive and interrogative sentences, while "any" is used with interrogative and negative sentences. To learn the difference between "some" and "any", read Some VS Any: What's The Difference?.
B. Example Dialogue
Practice the following dialogue. Pay attention to the italicized words.
In the kitchen
An estate agent is showing Mr. and Mrs. Harris the kitchen.
Estate Agent:There you are. A wonderful new kitchen.
Mr. Harris:It's very small.
Estate Agent:There's the cooker and there's the refrigerator.
Mrs. Harris:Where?
Estate Agent:Behind you. The refrigerator's behind you.
Mrs. Harris:I can't open it.
Mr. Harris:I can't put the table outside. Then you can open the refrigerator.
Mrs. Harris:What's that under the table? On the floor?
Estate Agent:It's a box.
Mrs. Harris:What's inside the box?
Estate Agent:There are spoons, knives, forks, ....
Mr. Harris:Plates ....
Mrs. Harris:And there are cups, too. Where will we put all these things?
Estate Agent:Put them in the cupboard. There's a cupboard behind the door.
A. Write sentences with "There is" or "There are" using the provided nouns. Look at the example.
  1. a cup - the table.
    Answer: There is a cup on the table.
  2. a book - the shelf.
  3. a lot of cars - the parking lot
  4. so many ants - on the table
  5. some tea - the table
  6. some ice - the fridge
  7. a computer - the room
  8. few good restaurants - my town
  9. some money - my pocket
  10. a big lamp - the center of the room
  11. two English dictionaries - our library
B. Complete these sentences with "there is / there isn't / is there / there are / there aren't / are there".
  1. The fridge is empty. ... any food in it.
  2. Surabaya is a big city. ... many good hotels there.
  3. ... more than 17,500 islands in Indonesian archipelago.
  4. I like shopping here. ... a wide variety of products to choose from.
  5. The park is not crowded. ... many visitors that day.
  6. I don't think we need to eat out. ... enough rice for dinner.
  7. ... a new building next to the parking lot. It is the school auditorium.
  8. ... an ATM near here? I need to draw some money.
  9. ... komodo dragons in the zoo?
  10. How many computers ... in the office?
C. Let's play a "Horse Race" game. Answer each question as quickly as possible. You may play it in full-screen mode if necessary.
051611 1147AM PV122

December 21, 2021

Asking And Giving Directions

A. How to Ask for Direction
  • Where is ..., please?
  • How do I get to ...?
  • Can you help me, please? I want to get to ....
  • Can you tell me where ... is?
  • I’m looking for ....
B. How to Give Direction
  • Go straight ahead. Take the lift / stairs.
  • Turn left / right at the traffic lights.
  • Walk straight.
  • It’s on your left / right.
  • It’s on the second floor.
  • It’s upstairs / downstairs.
  • Take the first right.
  • Take the first exit.
  • Take the ... bus and get off at ....
  • It's next to ....
  • It's opposite ....
C. Useful Expressions with Illustrations
Ask And Give Directions
D. Example Dialogues
Dialogue 1
Andy stops a passer-by to ask the way to the city museum.
Andy:Excuse me, could you tell me where the museum is?
Passer-by:The museum? It’s just over there, next to the park.
Andy:Ah yes, thanks very much.
Passer-by:You're welcome.
Dialogue 2
Ann needs to go to an ATM and asks a passer-by.
Ann:Excuse me. Could you tell me the way to the nearest ATM?
Passer-by:Well, go straight and turn left at the first junction. Go along the street and you will find a big supermarket. There are ATM booths in front of it.
Ann:And what’s the supermarket called?
Passer-by:Matahari. Shall I write it down for you?
Ann:No, I think I’ve got it. Thanks a lot.
Dialogue 3
Lidya wants to go to the art gallery but she doesn't know how to get there.
Lidya:Excuse me. How could I get to the art gallery?
Passer-by:The art gallery? Get the 11 bus from the corner here, and get off at the Central park. Then turn left into Bright Avenue, and go on until you get to the gallery. It's on your right.
Lidya:Could you write it down for me? I might get lost again otherwise.
Passer-by:Certainly ... [writes it down for Lidya] ... there you are.
Lidya:Thank you for your help.
Passer-by:My pleasure. Enjoy the art gallery!
Lidya:I will. Bye!
E. Exercises

December 09, 2021

How To Express Amazement, Admiration, or Surprise in English

  • Guess what!
  • Surprise!
  • I’ve got news for you!
  • Do you know what!
  • Are you sitting down?
  • You’d better sit down!
  • You won’t believe this, but...

That’s + adjective!


That’s + noun phrase!

a beautiful goal!
a brilliant maneuver!
a nice dress!

What + noun phrase!

a wonderful voice she has!
a brilliant maneuver!
a nice dress!

How + adjective / adverb!

stunning she looks!
gently she walks!
Amazement, Admiration, Surprise
  • I’m really surprised at ....
  • Oh no! It can’t be (true)!
  • My goodness!
  • What a surprise!
  • What on earth is that thing?
  • I was shocked by ....
  • It’s too good to be true!
  • It’s unbelievable!
  • I can’t believe it!
  • Incredible!
  • It’s really beyond belief!
I. Match each incomplete sentence into the correct word, "How" or "What".
II. Arrange these jumbled sentences
  1. experience – what – had – unforgettable – an – we
  2. was – fascinating – sunset – how – the
  3. actress – a – beautiful – what – is – she
  4. a – family – our – dinner – had – what – fantastic
  5. the – next – how – girl – is – adorable – door
  6. succeed – she – how – to – hard – tried
  7. perfect – by – what – Ronaldo – ball – a – long
  8. the – astonishing – was – sight – how
  9. hall – a – conference – large – what – is – it
  10. for – what – the – team – a – new – year – successful
III. Complete the following dialogues using your own words.
Dialogue 1
Didy:Look. Messy has just scored another goal.
Danny:Wow! ....
Dialogue 2
Bob:What are you reading?
Paul:Sport news as usual.
Bob:What's new today?
Paul:My favorite team won once again. So far, it is the only club that has won each of its five three league matches.
Bob:Really? ....
Paul:Furthermore, so far it has scored 11 goals and allowed none. Isn’t it amazing?
Bob:Indeed. ....
Dialogue 3
Yoyo:Can we go to the movie this evening?
Nike:I’d love to, but I’m sorry I’m tied up till 8 p.m. I’m going to have a meeting at 4 p.m. and it may last until 6. Then I still have to finish a report tonight in order to meet the deadline.
Nike:I wish I could go with you. What about Friday evening?

March 28, 2021

How to Make and Respond to an Offer

Making an Offer
n our daily life, there are occassions where we feel that we should offer help, a service, or something to friends, work colleagues, or other people in order to be polite, kind and friendly. We do that for a social purpose, to maintain and improve good relationships with people around us. Offering help or something can be a great way to show them that we care and appreciate them. Now, if you’re not sure what to say when you want to make an offer in English, don’t worry. Below you’ll find common expressions you can use in making and responding to an offer.
A. Making an Offer
How to make an offer
GambitsExample Sentence
Shall I ...?
  • Shall I close the door?
  • Shall I turn on the lights?
  • Can I ...?
  • Can I help you?
  • Can I show you how to do it?
  • Would you like ...?
  • Would you like some tea?
  • Would you like a cup of coffee?
  • Would you like me to carry it?
  • How about ...?
  • How about some tea?
  • How about going to the beach?
  • What about ...?
  • What about some drink?
  • What about going to the beach?
  • Do you want me to ...?
  • Do you want me to carry it?
  • Do you want me to type it?
  • I'll ..., if you like.
  • I'll do it, if you like.
  • I'll make you some tea, if you like.
  • Also read "Offering and Asking for a Favor or Help" HERE

    Making an offer is different from giving advice and suggestion. Learn "Asking For, Giving, and Responding to Advice and Suggestions" HERE
    B. Responding to an Offer
    To accept or refuse an offer, you can use one of the following expressions.
    How to respond to an offer
    Accepting an OfferRefusing an Offer
  • Yes please.
  • Yes please. That's very kind of you.
  • Yes please, that would be lovely.
  • Yes please, that would be great.
  • Yes please, I’d love one.
  • If you wouldn’t mind.
  • If you could.
  • Thank you. I'd appreciate that.
  • No, thanks.
  • No, thank you.
  • It’s OK. I'll do it.
  • Don't worry. I can do it myself.
  • C. Example Dialogue
    Read and practice the dialogue between two friends, which contains offers and responses to offers, below.
    English Dialogue: Making and Responding to Offers
    Andy:Good afternoon, Anne.
    Anne:Good afternoon, Andy. How are you?
    Andy:I'm very well, thank you, Anne. How are you?
    Anne:I'm well, thank you. I'm glad that you feel well again.
    Andy:Yes, I don't have a cold now. My head isn't aching, and I'm not coughing, and I'm not sneezing.
    Anne:That's wonderful! Andy, afternoon tea is ready now. Would you like some tea?
    Andy:Oh yes, please, Anne.
    Anne:Would you like to sit here, Andy?
    Andy:Yes. Aah, this chair feels comfortable.
    Anne:Here's your tea.
    Andy:Thank you.
    Anne:Would you like some sugar, Andy?
    Andy:Yes, please Anne.
    Anne:I think your tea is very strong. Is it too strong?
    Andy:No, no, Anne. It's very good. I don't like weak tea. I like strong tea.
    Anne:Oh, I don't. I like weak tea. Would you like a biscuit, Andy? Or a piece of cake?
    Andy:I'd like some cake, please, Anne. Mmmmmm, it's lovely!
    Anne:Is it good? It's home-made.
    Andy:Really? Oh, you're a very good cook, Anne. Do you often make cakes?
    Anne:Yes, I do. Oh, but your cup is empty now. Would you like some more tea, Andy?
    Andy:No, thank you, Anne. But I have a cigarette here. I think I'll have a cigarette. Would you mind if I smoked?
    Anne:Not at all, Andy. Please do. But I think you should stop your smoking habit.
    Andy:Oh dear, where's my lighter? I can't find it.
    Anne:There it is, under the chair. You may have dropped it.
    Andy:Oh thank you, Anne.
    Anne:Where's Linda today? Is she at home?
    Andy:No, she isn't, Anne. She's visiting some friends.
    Anne:Oh, but she has a cold! She should stay at home.
    Andy:No, she doesn't have a cold now. She's well again.
    Anne:That's good.
    Andy:Yes, it's good. When she's sick, I make tea for her - and I always do something wrong!
    Anne:Oh, poor Andy. But now she's well, and she makes tea for you.
    Anne:Well, I hope you don't get another cold!
    Andy:Yes, I hope so.
    Anne:I'm sure you catch colds because you smoke much. Smoking decreases your immune system.
    Andy:You're right. I've read about that too.
    Anne:So, why don't you try to quit smoking and start living a healthy life?
    Andy:I'm thinking about it. Linda doesn't like my smoking either.
    Anne:I bet.
    "Would you like" is different from "Do you like". Learn the difference HERE

    D. Exercise
    1. Read the above dialogue again and identify all offers and the responses you can find, then write them in the table below. Number 1 has been done as an example.
    2. Identify all offers and the responses you can find in the dialogue and write them.
      OfferingResponding to an offer
      1. Would you like some tea?

      Oh yes, please.
      2. ........
      3. ........
      4. ........
      5. ........
    3. Write polite offers using the expressions and gambits you have learned. Look at the example.
      1. Some bread?
        Answer: Would you like some bread?
      2. go to the beach?
        Answer: How about going to the beach? / Would you like to go to the beach?
      3. try our new dish?
      4. some candies?
      5. use my umbrella?
      6. give you a lift?
      7. try to repair your printer?
    4. Write an appropriate polite response for each of the following situations.
      1. Your teacher is carrying a pile of books. You offer to help her with it.
      2. Your colleague is printing a very important document. Suddenly, her printer broke down. You offer her to print the document using your printer.
      3. You are receiving a call from someone who wants to speak to your manager, but your manager is not available. You offer him/her to leave a message or call back later.
      4. The commuter train is full when an elderly woman gets on and she can't find a seat. You offer your seat to her.
      5. You are a shop assistant at a fashion store. You are serving a customer who does not seem satisfied with the dress she has just tried on. You offer another style of dress.
    Also read:

    March 23, 2021

    Imperative Sentences and Polite Requests in English

    Imperative Sentences and Polite Requests
    e make a request, or give an instruction or an order when we are asking for something to be given or done, especially as a favor or courtesy. We make and receive requests, orders, or instructions in our daily life, whether we are at home, at school, at work, or even at public places.

    Therefore, it is essential to understand how to make requests, commands, or instructions, and how to respond to them appropriately. The ability in using polite forms in making requests and responding appropriately plays a very important role in presenting ourself in daily interactions. When we are polite, we appear gracious, agreeable, acceptable, and pleasant.

    The imperatives or imperative sentences are used for giving orders and instructions, making suggestions, and encouraging people to do things. We can make imperative sentences by using exactly the same form as the infinitive without to, e.g. open, close, clean, do, write, read, etc.. Look at the underlined verbs in the example sentences below:
    • Fill out this form.
    • Open the windows.
    • Sleep well.
    Remember the following important points when making an imperative sentence.
    1. A subject can be used for making it clear who is being spoken to, with no change in verbs (infinitives), e.g.:
      • Jim come here.
      • Somebody open the door!
      • You get out! ("You" before an imperative usually suggests anger)
    2. To make it more polite and emphatic, "Do" can be used before the infinitive, e.g.
      • Do sit down.
      • Do forgive me.
      • Do be quiet.
    3. Negative imperatives, as in prohibitions or warnings, are constructed with "do not" or "don’t", e.g.
      • Don’t be noisy.
      • Don’t blame me.
      • Do not lean out of the window.
    4. "Always" and "never" can be used before imperatives, e.g.
      • Always remember to smile.
      • Never be late to class.
      • Always make sure the PC is off before leaving.
    5. Passive imperatives can be constructed with "get" and "be", e.g.
      • Get vaccinated as soon as you can.
      • Get dressed quickly.
      • Please be advised that your tax has been overdue.
    6. "Please" makes the imperatives sound more polite, e.g.
      • Please don't tell her about it.
      • Please turn the music down.
      • Please make sure the PC is off before leaving.
    Polite requests can be constructed using modals, e.g. can, could, will, would, and sound more polite and softer than commands. To make requests sound even more polite, "please" can be used at the end of the sentence. Look at the following structure:
    Could you + Infinitive (Verb 1) (please)?
    Would you + Infinitive (Verb 1) (please)?
    Can you + Infinitive (Verb 1) (please)?
    Will you + Infinitive (Verb 1) (please)?
    Would you mind + Present Participle (Verb-ing)?
    Look at the following examples:
  • Can you turn down the TV?
  • Could you leave the door open, please?
  • Will you send the email as soon as possible, please?
  • Would you keep the bedroom clean?
  • Would you mind washing the car after using it?
  • Would you mind not closing the door?
  • Note when making a request:
    1. "Can / Could / Will / Would you" is always followed by the infinitive (Verb 1), e.g.:
      • Can you come here, please?
      • Could you stay where you are?
      • Will you tell him to come?
    2. "Could / Would you ...?" and "Would you mind ...?" makes the request sound more polite and formal than "Can / Will you ...?", e.g.:
      • Would you open the door, please?
      • Would you write your name here, please?
      • Could you sign here, please?
    3. "Would you mind" is always followed by a gerund / noun (Verb-ing), e.g.
      • Would you mind turning the music down?
      • Would you mind taking care of my pet?
      • Would you mind telling her about it?
    4. "Please" makes our requests sound more polite, e.g.
      • Would you close the door, please?
      • Could you write your name here, please?
      • Will you not lean out of the window, please?
    "Would you mind ..." is different from "Would you like ...?"
    Learn more about "Would you like ...?" HERE
    Generally, we can agree to a polite request by giving positive invitations such as "Yes, certainly" or "Sure, no problem." However, there is a difference in meaning between requests using "Can/Could/Will/Would you ...?" and those using "Would you mind ...?". Therefore, the responses will be discussed separately.
    1. Accepting a request with "Will / Would / Can / Could you ...?"
      We can accept "Will / Would / Can / Could you ...?" requests by using positive invitations such as:
      • OK. I’ll do that
      • All right.
      • Oh, sure. I’d be glad to.
      • Sure ! No problem.
    2. Accepting a request with "Would you mind ...?"
      Accepting to "Would you mind ...?" requests with positive invitations may cause confusion as people may assume that you would mind and do not want to do it, unless we can clearly give our assent to the request by using positive body language, such as smiling agreeably. However, we can avoid confusion by using the following expressions:
      • No, not at all.
      • No, I don't mind at all.
      • No problem, go ahead.
      • No, please be my guest.
    1. Declining a request with "Will / Would / Can / Could you ...?"
      We can decline "Will / Would / Can / Could you ...?" requests politely by saying sorry and an excuse, or maybe an alternative. Here are some examples:
      • I’m sorry, I’m still busy.
      • Oh, sorry. I can’t do it right now. Maybe later.
      • Sorry, I wish I could. I have to ...(do something else)....
      • I'm sorry, I still don't have time.
    2. Declining a request with "Would you mind ...?"
      Declining "Would you mind ...?" requests should be done politely in order to avoid offence. It is better to provide a clear reason why the request cannot be fulfilled, and whenever possible, use positive body language, such as smiling agreeably. Here are some useful expressions:
      • Yes, certainly. ...(give an excuse / reason)....
      • Well, I have to ...(do something else)....
      • I'm sorry, ...(give an excuse / reason)....
    1. Change the following imperatives into polite requests using "Can/Could/Will/Would you ... (please)?". Number 1 has been done as an example.
      1. Open the door!
        Would you open the door, please?
      2. Pass me the sugar.
      3. Ask him in, please.
      4. Be quiet, please.
      5. Do me a favor, please.
      6. Listen to me.
    2. Change the following imperatives into polite requests using "Would you mind ...?". Number 1 has been done as an example.
      1. Wait a moment.
        Would you mind waiting a moment, please?
      2. Close the windows.
      3. Take off your hat.
      4. Help me, please.
      5. Turn off the music.
      6. Speak more slowly, please.
    More exercises? Read "Offering and Asking for a Favor or Help" HERE
    Fr082710 1134PM 95

    March 13, 2021

    Complaining: Dialogues And Exercises

    Complaining Dialogues And Exercises
    omplaints can be found in work situations, especially in a job which deals with servicing and meeting a lot of people on a daily basis. Here are some contextual example dialogues about complaints and how to handle them in various situations. Practice them and do the exercise.
    What expressions do you use in handling complaints? Read HERE
    How do you express your satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Read HERE
    Dialogue 1
    Woman:Good afternoon, can I help you?
    Man:I hope so. I bought this television here about three months ago, but the sound and picture quality are awful. The picture is always flickering and there's a dark line down the left-hand side of the screen. And there's an annoying hissing sound in the background.
    Woman:Do you have an outside aerial?
    Man:Yes, I do.
    Woman:Have you tried adjusting the aerial?
    Man:Several times.
    Woman:Hmmmmm. I'll get our engineers to have a look at it.
    Man:A friend of mine bought the same model here and had exactly the same problems. I want a refund.
    Woman:I'm afraid it isn't our policy to give refunds, sir.
    Man:I want to see the manager.
    Answer the following questions based on the above text.
    1. Where does the dialogue most probably take place?
    2. What is the man complaining about?
    3. What is the most probable relationship between the man and the woman?
    4. What did the man buy?
    5. When did he buy it?
    6. What is the problem with it?
    7. What solution does the woman offer?
    8. Does the man agree with her solution?
    9. What does he want?
    10. What will most probably happen after the conversation?
    Dialogue 2
    Assistant:Good morning, can I help you?
    Customer:I'd like to make a complaint about my holiday in Portugal last week.
    Assistant:I'm sorry to hear that. What exactly was the problem?
    Customer:First of all the coach taking us to the hotel broke down and we had to wait for over two hours in the sweltering heat before a replacement arrived. Then when we got to the hotel we found our room hadn't been cleaned.
    Assistant:Oh dear, did you complain to the hotel staff?
    Customer:Of course, but we were told all the chambermaids were off duty. Anyway, that's not all. The people in the room above sounded like they were having all-night parties, every night. I demanded another room but the receptionist told me the hotel was full.
    Assistant:Oh, I see.
    Customer:And to cap it all the food in the hotel restaurant was awful. It was so bad we had to eat out all the time despite having paid for meals in the price of our holiday.
    Assistant:I do apologise. I'd like to offer you a 20% discount on the price of one of our Autumn breaks as a gesture of goodwill.
    Customer:A 20% discount, you must be joking. I want to see the manager.
    Answer the following questions based on the above text.
    1. Where does the conversation most probably take place?
    2. What is the customer complaining about?
    3. What happened with the coach taking the customer to the hotel?
    4. How long did they have to wait?
    5. How was the weather at that time?
    6. What did they find when they arrived at the hotel?
    7. Did the customer complain to the hotel?
    8. What did the hotel say?
    9. Why did the customer want another room?
    10. What did the customer think about the hotel restaurant?
    11. Where did he decide to eat during his stay at the hotel?
    12. What would the assistant like to offer as an apology?
    13. Does the customer agree with the offer?
    14. What would the customer like to do?
    15. If you were the travel agency manager, what would you do in this situation?
    Dialogue 3
    Mary:“It’s certainly very busy here today, isn’t it?”
    Julia:“Yes, and there aren’t enough salesgirls. We’ve been standing here for at least five minutes!”
    Mary:“Quick. Catch that salesgirl’s eye! She’s just finishing with a costumer.”
    Julia:“Miss! Miss! Excuse me. I think I’m next and I haven’t very much time.”
    Salesgirl:“Yes, madam. How can I help you?"
    Julia:“I’m afraid I have a complaint. It’s this pullover. I’m disappointed with the quality. I’ve only had it for two months and it’s already worn out.”
    Salesgirl:“Worn out? May I see it?”
    Julia:“Yes, here you are. Look at the sleeves. They’re the worst part. Do you see? They’ve worn very badly.”
    Salesgirl:“And how long do you say you’ve had it?”
    Julia:“For only two months. Look, here’s the receipt.”
    Salesgirl:““Thank you. This is very strange. We’ve been selling this particular make for years and we haven’t had any complaints in all that time.”
    Julia:“Well, I’m sorry. I’m sure it isn’t my fault. It’s already worn out.”
    Salesgirl:“One moment, please. Let me call the manager. Mr. Simons! Mr. Simons!”
    Mr. Simons:“Yes?”
    Salesgirl:“It’s this lady. She’s had this pullover for two months and it’s already worn out.”
    Mr. Simons:“Really? Let me see, please. Hmm…yes…”
    Julia:“I’ve been wearing in at the week-ends; that’s all.”
    Mr. Simons:“Yes, well ... make out a credit slip for the lady, would you, Miss Smith?”
    Julia:“A credit slip?”
    Mr. Simons:“Yes. You can buy anything you like with it in the store.”
    Julia:“I’d rather have my money back, if you don’t mind.”
    Mr. Simons:“I see. Well, I suppose we can arrange that.”
    Julia:“Thank you.”
    (Adapted from Kernel Lessons Intermediate; Students’ Book)
    Correct the following statements. They have been quoted wrongly from the above text.
    1. There are not many people in the shop today.
    2. Julia has a lot of time.
    3. She has been standing there for an hour.
    4. She has had the sweater for a year.
    5. The shop hasn’t been selling that particular make for long.
    6. The shop has had many complaints for the product.
    7. The pullover has worn very badly on the chest.
    8. The manager refuses to accept the sweater back.
    9. Julia has been wearing the sweater at work.
    10. Julia wants a credit slip for the sweater.

    February 11, 2021

    Handling Complaints

    Handling Complaints
    omplaining is expressing the feeling of annoyance or dissatisfaction about something, which can be a pain and a symptom of illness, or a situation that is unsatisfactory or unacceptable. Whether you are at work or at home, you often find a customer, a colleague, a friend, or a family member complaining and expressing their dissatisfaction when their needs, wishes, or expectations are not met.

    For those whose job requires meeting with lots of customers, handling written or verbal complaints have become a common daily routine. Complaints should be regarded as an opportunity to improve and make a long-lasting customer. Therefore, complaints must be dealt with in a professional manner, quickly, politely and efficiently.


    In order to be able to handle complaints appropriately, we should know how complaints are usually given or expressed. In this post, we will be focusing on verbal complaints, namely those that are expressed in verbal or spoken language instead of written. Here are some of the most common expressions of complaint:

    • I’d like to complain about ....
    • Well, this is (absolutely) the worst .... I’ve ever found.
    • What can you do about it / them?
    • Something must be done about .... It's very disappointing.
    • I’m sorry to say this, but ....
    • Would you mind not ...?
    • I’m not at all satisfied with your ....
    • I wish you wouldn’t ....
    • I’m disappointed with ....
    Read more about expressing dissatisfaction HERE
    Handling a Complaint

    In the workplace, complaints become a very important issue that need to be identified and addressed in a timely manner in order to keep both the organisation and customer happy. In short, we must be sensitive to the customer, their needs, the nature of the complaint and the mood the customer is in.

    To be brief, there are three basic steps in handling complaints appropriately.

    1. Apologize politely.
      • I’m sorry, sir/madam.
      • We should apologize for ....
    2. Attempt to solve the problem.
      • I will look into it immediately.
      • I will call the repairman.
      • Let me check it again, Sir / Madam.
      • Would you like to choose another color?
      • Wait a moment, please. We’re going to make it up.
      • We will try to fix it.
    3. If you can't handle it on your own, alert your supervisor or manager.
      • Just one minute, please. I will alert my supervisor.
      • Would you wait a minute? I have to talk to my manager about it.
    Practice with dialogues
    In the following dialogues, mark the sentences indicating a complaint, an apology and an attempt to solve the problem.
    Dialogue 1:
    Ari would like to complain about the price of a book that she has bought. It is said that it is 15% off, but she had to pay the normal price.
    Ari:I would like to complain about the book I bought yesterday. It is said that I can get 15% off, but I paid the normal price.
    Shop assistant:We do apologize. Please wait a moment. We’re going to make it up.
    Dialogue 2:
    Reni complains to the librarian when she finds that many books have not been neatly put on the bookshelves.
    Reni:I'm sorry to say this, but I can't find the book that I want because most of them are not
    Librarian:We are sorry. We haven’t got enough time to tidy them up. There have been a lot of visitors this morning.
    Dialogue 3:
    Two workers are talking about their advertisement that seems to be missing from a daily paper.
    Andy:Did you see our advertisement in Tuesday’s paper?
    Ben:No, I looked for it, but didn’t see it. I also looked in Wednesday’s issue.
    Andy:Well, that’s discouraging. It doesn’t seem to have been put in. I’ll call the Daily News and see what the problem is. Our weekend sale won’t get much attention if nobody knows that it’s happening.
    Ben:I wouldn’t worry too much about that. We have placed posters throughout the mall and the sale’s been broadcast on the radio. Besides, lots of people come to the mall on the weekend anyway.
    Dialogue 4:
    Ayu complains to her father for always breaking his promise to take her to the bookstore.
    Ayu:Dad, when will you take me to the bookstore? You promised that last week, didn't you?
    Father:I'm really sorry, dear. I haven’t got much time. What about going there with your mom?
    Find more dialogues and exercises about complaining and how to handle complaints HERE.
    You can learn more about how to express satisfaction and dissatisfaction in English HERE.
    Good luck in your English studies.

    January 30, 2021

    Making Small Talk - Video Material And Exercise

    et's imagine you have just arrived at your office and are ready to start your shift. You meet your colleague of the previous shift whom you are going to replace. What would you say to be polite? Let's imagine again you are sitting in a waiting room, next to a stranger. How would you start conversation in order to break the uncomfortable and awkward silence?

    Yes, you need small talk.

    What is small talk?

    To be short, small talk refers to "basa-basi" in Bahasa Indonesia. It is a social conversation about unimportant and uncontroversial matters, which helps manage interpersonal distance and define the relationships between friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances.

    We make small talk when we want to avoid uncomfortable silence and talk to someone we have never met before, or a colleague in order to appear polite and friendly and create a positive interaction. Small talk serves many social functions, such as conversation opener, conversation closing, and silence filler.

    Small talk topics should be universal, positive, and situational to enable the conversation to flow naturally. Common small talk topics may range from the weather, sports, entertainment, introduction, occupation, and common interests.

    To help you with clearer and more practical understanding of small talk, watch the video below and do the following exercise.

    Answer the following questions by choosing the correct answer; A, B, C, or D.
    1. How did the man start the conversation?
      1. By asking the woman's name and nationality
      2. By asking the woman's favorite weather
      3. By creating small talk about the weather
      4. By telling the woman about his hard day
    2. What did the woman think about the weather?
      1. It was a sign that summer had started.
      2. The weather had been oficially forecast.
      3. The officials said that summer was hot.
      4. It didn't look like summer had started.
    3. What did the man say he wanted to buy?
      1. Sun glasses
      2. Sun roof
      3. Some blocks
      4. Sun block
    4. The man said, "My name is John, by the way."
      From the dialogue, we may conclude that the phrase "by the way" can be used to ....
      1. clarify that an information may have been wrongly perceived
      2. introduce a topic not directly connected with the previous subject
      3. confirm a very important information in an informal conversation
      4. ask about a very casual topic in a formal or non-formal conversation
    5. How did they greet each other in their introduction?
      1. Nice to miss you.
      2. Nights to meet you.
      3. Nice to me, too.
      4. Nice to meet you.
    6. What do we know about the woman's origin?
      1. She lives around the area.
      2. They both live in Hokkaido.
      3. She will move to Hokkaido.
      4. She is from an Asian country.
    7. What did she say about the weather in Hokkaido?
      1. It's warmer in Hokkaido.
      2. It's much colder in Hokkaido.
      3. Hokkaido is not as cold as that.
      4. Hokkaido is colder than before.
    8. What did the man say about the weather in his hometown?
      1. It has a little rain.
      2. It's very windy.
      3. It's hotter when it rains.
      4. It often rains.
    9. The man said, "I'm not used to these summer temperatures."
      What did he imply?
      1. He usually lived in a much colder place.
      2. He cannot do many activities in summer.
      3. The temperature in summer is usual.
      4. He likes summer temperatures more.
    10. What does the woman like to do in summer?
      1. She likes running into the sea.
      2. She likes to take her dog for jogging.
      3. She likes to spend time at the beach.
      4. She usually allows her dog to go out.
    11. What does the man usually do in his hometown during summer?
      1. If it's sunny, he meets up with his friends in a bar.
      2. He spends time sunbathing in a parking lot.
      3. He travels around London to see nice parks.
      4. He often has picnic in the park on sunny days.
    12. Has the woman been to London before?
      1. Yes, she has.
      2. Yes, to visit museums.
      3. No, never.
      4. No, she doesn't want to.
    13. What did the woman want to visit in London?
      1. The beach
      2. The park
      3. The museums
      4. The football game
    14. According to the man, what do the people in his hometown mostly do at the weekend?
      1. They play football with their team.
      2. They play football video games.
      3. They go to their favorite teams.
      4. They watch football games.
    15. Why did the woman relate to "baseball" in the conversation?
      1. To tell which Japanese baseball teams are popular
      2. To describe her favorite sports when she is in Japan
      3. To imply that both games are super popular in Japan
      4. To give information about equally popular sports
    16. In chronological order, the topic of the conversation can be defined as ....
      1. the weather, place of origin, sports, summer activities
      2. the weather, place of origin, summer activities, sports
      3. the weather, place of origin, names, favorite sports
      4. the season, names, activities, personal sports
    17. Based on the dialogue, which of the following statements is FALSE?
      1. The speakers have never met before.
      2. The speakers are probably tourists.
      3. They come from different countries.
      4. They both have the same preference.
    18. What do you think the speakers are most probably doing?
      1. They are making a business trip.
      2. They are meeting new colleagues
      3. They are studying about the weather.
      4. They are enjoying their vacation.
    19. Which of the following topics is best to continue the conversation?
      1. The beaches in London
      2. Favorite sports
      3. Religions
      4. Political view
    20. Which of the following is NOT true about "small talk"?
      1. It is a polite way to start a conversation.
      2. It is mostly about uncontroversial matters.
      3. The topic is often popular and unimportant.
      4. It is effective in political and job interviews.
    Video source:
    Small Talk | Making Small Talk | Everyday English, YouTube, uploaded by Learn English by Pocket Passport, Jul 6, 2020,
    For more resources on small talk, you can refer to the following pages:

    November 27, 2020

    How to Express Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction

    e feel satisfied when our wishes, expectations, or needs are fulfilled, or when we have paid our debts or fulfilled an obligation or claim. To the contrary, we will feel dissatisfied when we have a sense of dislike for, or unhappiness in, things that fall short of our wishes or expectations.

    Here are the most common expressions of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in English.

    Expressing Satisfaction
    To express satisfaction, we can use the following expressions. Satisfaction can also be expressed with compliments.
    Expressing Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction
    • I’m very satisfied with ....
    • I’m very pleased with ....
    • It’s very satisfying.
    • This is incredible / remarkable / fantastic / fabulous / unbelievable / amazing.
    • Well done.
    • You’ve done a great job.
    • You did it.
    • That was a good one.
    • You’ve made a great effort.
    • I really appreciate that.
    Read more about how to give and respond to compliments HERE
    Expressing Dissatisfaction
    To express dissatisfaction, we can use below expressions. Dissatisfaction can also be shown through complaints.
    • I’m disappointed with ....
    • It’s very disappointing.
    • What a terrible ...!
    • How awful!
    • It’s terrible / annoying.
    • You should have done / known better.
    • I want to complain about ....
    • I have a complaint to make.
    • (I’m afraid) ... it just isn’t good enough.
    • Something must be done about ....
    Read more about how to handle complaints HERE
    Example Dialogue 1
    Shamira is grumbling to Kath.
    SHAMIRA:Every time we come here we have to wait!
    KATH:Never mind – it won’t be long now.
    SHAMIRA:We’ve been here the whole morning, practically.
    KATH:[looks at her watch] Well, ... we’ve only been here twenty minutes, actually.
    SHAMIRA:It’s really annoying, and I’m fed up!
    KATH:It’s no use being annoyed, Shamira. Either we can wait here and be patient, or we can come back later.
    SHAMIRA:Why does everyone else decide to come here just when I want to?
    KATH:Calm down. All the assistants are busy, but ....
    SHAMIRA:You mean ‘both the assistants’! There are only two of them! They should employ more assistants so people don’t have to wait.
    KATH:Look, we’re in town all day today – let’s come back when they’re not so rushed off their feet.
    SHAMIRA:I’m not budging!
    (Taken from Colloquial English)
    Example Dialogue 2
    The manager is talking to one of his employees about her job review.
    MANAGER:In summary, your review is mostly favorable. I really appreciate that.
    EMPLOYEE:Thank you, Sir.
    MANAGER:You met four of your six incentive goals, which means your bonus will total four million and five hundred thousand rupiahs.
    EMPLOYEE:Could you tell me which areas I should improve?
    MANAGER:Well, you got high marks for promptness and dedication, but you need to improve your business etiquette and time management.
    EMPLOYEE:Will my performance review be used in deciding on a salary increase?
    MANAGER:Of course. Your review will go into your file, which is part of your permanent employment record. Do you have any other questions?
    EMPLOYEE:I guess all's clear. Thank you very much, Sir.
    MANAGER:You're most welcome. Keep up the good work.
    EMPLOYEE:I will.
    I. Answer these questions by referring to Dialogue 1.
    1. Where did the dialogue most probably happen?
    2. What were the speakers mostly talking about?
    3. What do you think about Shamira's feeling?
    4. Rewrite Shamira's sentence expressing her feeling.
    5. In your opinion, what made her feel that way?
    6. What do you think about Kath's attitude?
    7. What did Kath suggest?
    8. What would they most probably do after the conversation?

    II. Answer these questions by referring to Dialogue 2.
    1. Where did the dialogue take place?
    2. What were the speakers talking about?
    3. What did the manager most likely feel?
    4. Rewrite the manager's sentence which expresses his/her feeling.
    5. What can we learn about the performance review in relation with employees' salary increase?
    Now you have learnt how to express satisfaction and dissatisfaction in English. Also check out the useful links below and read how to handle complaints and how to give and receive compliments.

    More practice? You can find other dialogues and exercises about complaining and how to handle complaints HERE.

    Good luck with your English studies.

    51611 622amv175

    September 16, 2020

    Giving And Receiving Compliments

    Giving And Receiving Compliments
    n our daily social life, we often express our admiration, satisfaction, or happiness for someone's achievement or work by giving compliments. The purpose is to show them that we care and are happy for them with what they have done or achieved.

    These are examples of compliments and the responses:

    What a fantastic performance!Thanks. I'm happy that everything worked well.
    You look gorgeous!Thank you very much.
    You're looking glamorous.Thanks.
    How adorable that is!Thank you for your compliment.
    Well done! You are the best.Thank you.
    I like your new haircut.Thanks. I'm glad you like it.
    That's a nice shirt!Thanks. It's a gift from my friend in Indonesia.
    How elegant you look.That's very nice of you. Thanks.
    My compliments on your great work.Thanks. I'm just doing my job.
    Wow! You’re very clever.Thank you.
    What a great picture! You should be proud of yourself.Thanks. Glad you like it.
    From the examples above, we can see that compliments and admiration can be expressed with:
    • That’s a nice ...(noun)....
    • What a great ...(noun)...!
    • How ...(adjective/adverb)...!
    • You look ...(adjective)....
    • I like your ...(noun)...!
    • I must express my admiration for your ...(noun)....
    • You're really ...(adjective)....
    To respond, we can use thanking expressions, such as:
    • Thank you for your compliment.
    • That's nice of you.
    • I am glad you like it.
    A. Please complete the dialogues below using your own words.
    Dialogue 1:
    Hari:What a nice bike you have, Panca.
    Panca:...(1).... It was a present from my Dad on my birthday two years ago.
    Hari:...(2).... That kind of bike is very expensive now.
    Panca:Yes, it is. It's because cycling is becoming very popular now.
    Hari:You're right. Bikes are sold out in many places.
    Dialogue 2:
    Gani:I saw your performance in the English speech contest yesterday. ...(3)....
    Salma:...(4).... I practiced hard to prepare for it.
    Gani:It was paid off. You certainly impressed the juries.
    Salma:I hope so. Thank God everything went well.
    Dialogue 3:
    Tom:I like your new shoes.
    Tom:They look very expensive. Where did you buy them?
    Dio:Well, not really. I bought them at a home industry near my house.
    Tom:...(6).... They look like branded products.
    Dio:Well, when it comes to quality, I'm not a brandminded person.
    Tom:I agree with you. Home industry products often come up with the same quality as that of branded ones, sometimes even better.
    Dialogue 4:
    Mita:Hi, Ayu. You look ...(7)... tonight.
    Ayu:...(8).... You, too.
    Mita:I've never seen you wearing that Batik dress. Is that new?
    Ayu:Well, my Mom had it made at a tailor's for me last month.
    Mita:Oh, did she? I think your mom is quite fashionable.
    Ayu:Yes, she really is.
    Dialogue 5:
    Risa:Hi, Linda. How are things with you?
    Linda:Never better, thanks. And you?
    Risa:I'm fine, thanks. I heard that your proposal for our next program has been approved. Congratulations.
    Linda:It has. Thanks.
    Risa:I think our manager should thank you for such a great idea in marketing. You're a genius.
    Linda:...(9).... It's all based on my experience in marketing that kind of product for years.
    Linda:Well, stop complimenting me. I need everybody's support in order to make it work.
    Risa:You can count on me.
    B. Express your compliment in each of the following situations.
    1. You compliment your friend on his/her new hair style.
    2. Your friend is wearing a fancy gown.
    3. Your colleague has been promoted for his hard work.
    4. Your friend has received a flying grade in a TOEIC test.
    5. Your brother has received a photography award.
    6. Your friend's office has been rearranged and it's now very comfortable..
    7. Your father has bought you a new mobile phone.
    8. Your cousin has gone on a diet and now she is slimmer.
    9. Your motorcycle wouldn't start until a friend came and helped you.
    10. Your best friend has won an English speech contest.
    Picture source: