The Future and how English speakers see it.

Future in English grammar as per speakers Image

When we think of the future we automatically think of will. But this is really only part of the story. In reality, will is just the first step in our thought process about our future plans.

Obviously we do not know the future. The recent past is clear in our memory like a series of short films playing in our heads. We replay those memories and remember those things which happened. The present is what we see now. What is currently happening all around us or what happens in our present routine. The future for us however is not events we see but rather plans we have for events to happen. We see them in different ways, and different shades of clarity, depending on the level of planning that we have already made.

The first step is will:

The lowest and first level of a future plan is will. Will is the big bang! When you say I will do something you have not thought about it before. It is the birth of an idea and is a decision you are making here and now at the time of saying it. It is unplanned and spontaneous. It is the first step in your decision-making process. For this reason, it is often preceded with I think or I reckon. It is not a firm decision. It is not arranged or planned. It is simply you deciding at that given moment that this action will play a part in your future life.

Will only expresses your desire and nothing more.

In English, your last testament is called your will. Your will is also what you wish to happen. It is his will – it is what he wants. It is a desire for the future, a desire for something to occur. When you say I will do something you are simply saying that this is your desire and nothing more. It is your first step in creating your future plan. But like the big bang, it is a fleeting moment. From the point of will it instantly changes from being a desire to something more focused.

The second step is going to. This describes your intention.

This more focused thought is expressed with going to. The desire you expressed when you said that you will do something is now transformed into an intention. From I will do something you are now going to do something. The image in your head for the future becomes clearer. You see yourself on the path to that action. Future actions will drive it towards your goal. You are consciously open to achieving it. Young single people can say that they are going to get married one day and they are going to have children. The words express the path they will now take towards that future goal although in this case the when and with who is not at all clear.

The third step is the present continuous I am doing. This is when arrangements have been made.

The final step in future planning is to make solid arrangements. For example I begin my plan with a desire such as I’ll meet my friends this weekend. The will signals that this is what I want to happen. From that moment it becomes I’m going to meet my friends this weekend. I see the path which is in this case to contact people and arrange where and when to meet. This done, I’m meeting my friends this weekend – the present continuous tense. When you use the present continuous, there is the idea now that it is set in stone. My image has now shifted into something much more solid. I can see the place and the people in my minds eye. I may have hopes or fears for the event but the image is solid in my mind. It is happening.

Long term future and short term future:

One thing to mention is that for the short-term future, this week for example, there is little difference between I’m going to go to the cinema and I’m going to the cinema. We do not differentiate the two (in the short term) and native speakers will not think twice about whether the action is arranged or not. However, when we talk about plans further into the future we are much more likely to use going to as the plan probably has not been arranged. For example Next week I’m going to America sounds correct because it is likely that I have bought my ticket, reserved my hotel and got my visa as the action will happen soon.

However, Next year I’m going to go to America sounds much more plausible as this is probably just in the intention phase where it’s what I intend to do but without arrangements having been made, because the time is next year.

The difference could suggest a bribe!

Another example to illustrate the difference between going to and the present continuous is I’m going to get an A in my exam and I’m getting an A in my exam. I’m going to get an A in my exam sounds correct. This is because I’m simply expressing an intention or perhaps it is based on the evidence that I have studied really hard (going to can also express an observation that something will happen based on evidence seen in the present.

If you see a dark sky you say It’s going to rain). To say I’m getting an A in my exam would imply that somehow it has been arranged. Perhaps I bribed the examiner? If not that, then it sounds arrogant at the least.

To sum up, there are three basic stages in how we think about the future.

We say we will do something at the outset. This is the moment the decision is made. From there it immediately goes to I’m going to do something which signals that my mind has been made up and I am going to follow my intentions towards making that action a reality. During this phase of the journey I make external arrangements and the moment they become confirmed now I’m doing it.

I’ll have lunch with Teresa on Saturday – my first initial thought

I’m going to have lunch with Teresa on Saturday – It is now my intention

I’m having lunch with Teresa on Saturday – I asked Teresa to have lunch and (perhaps) booked a table. The arrangement is made.

An interesting thing about the short term future is that we generally know what we are doing, particularly if we live a life of routine (which most of us do). Therefore thinking about the next week or so we use going to and the present continuous a lot more than we use will. Will is only the birth of a new idea. Learners of English generally have the idea that will signifies the future, and it does. But only at the first step.

Une école bon marché une bonne école

Une école bon marché peut-elle être une bonne école ?

À Dublin, il existe un large choix d’écoles enseignant l’anglais ayant toutes différents rapports qualité/prix.
Vous savez votre budget, mais comment savoir la qualité d’une école ?

Lire les avis

Vous pouvez vous faire une idée de l’école en question en consultant les avis des élèves. Ces derniers ont souvent tendance à publier leurs avis, qu’ils soient satisfaits ou non de l’école. Il est donc utile de les lire. Généralement dans les avis négatifs, les plaintes ne sont pas mensongères et sont souvent répétées par de nombreuses personnes. Lisez les commentaires sur la façon dont les étudiants sont traités. Si l’école ne traite pas bien ses élèves, alors il vaudrait probablement mieux l’éviter.
Du côté positif, les commentaires qui complimentent l’école et ses professeurs peuvent vous aider à affiner votre choix.

Et l’enseignement en lui-même ?

Les écoles d’anglais sont juste… des écoles qui enseignent l’anglais ! Recherchez des preuves qui montrent que les professeurs sont passionnés par l’enseignement de la langue plutôt que de proposer des offres pour gagner un maximum d’argent. Regardez aussi leur site internet : celui-ci mentionne-t-il le détail des cours ? Leurs méthodes d’enseignement ? Recherchez-les sur les réseaux sociaux. Même chose : Mentionne-t-ils la méthodologie de leurs cours ou évoquent-ils seulement des offres et des promotions afin d’attirer le plus d’étudiants possible ?
À côté de cela, il existe beaucoup d’écoles qui tiennent à cœur à enseigner l’anglais. Trouvez ces écoles et faites votre choix.

Soyez attentifs à la taille de l’école

Les nouvelles écoles sont souvent pleines d’attentions. Elles prennent soin de chaque étudiant individuellement jusqu’à ce que le succès arrive car les élèves sont de plus en plus nombreux et il y a donc moins de suivi individuel.
Les professeurs qui ont commencé à travailler dans de nouvelles écoles se sentaient important aux yeux de leurs élèves et essayaient d’innover leurs cours. Une fois les écoles surchargées d’élèves, les enseignants sont moins motivés car ils ne peuvent plus les traiter au cas par cas. Et ce sont les élèves qui en font les frais. Le message de tout cela n’est pas que toutes les grandes écoles sont mauvaises, mais méfiez-vous de certaines d’entre-elles. Nous vous conseillons de choisir une école qui sera capable de vous offrir le suivi individuel dont vous avez besoin.
Une qualité reconnue
En Irlande, il existe plusieurs labels qui certifient aux écoles un certain niveau de qualité. Par ses labels, les écoles permettent à des inspecteurs indépendants de vérifier leur réel niveau de qualité d’un point de vue académique et administratif. Regardez si ces écoles contiennent des labels tel que ACELS ou MEI

Les professeurs

Le professeur est l’élément le plus important de votre cours car il est la première personne avec qui vous serez en contact chaque jour. Lorsque vous prenez contact avec une école, posez-leur le plus de questions possible. Concernant les professeurs, voici deux questions que vous devriez poser : Les professeurs sont-ils nés en l’Irlande ? Quels sont à chacun leur spécialité, leur point fort ? La façon dont l’école va vous répondre montrera la façon dont ils se comporterons avec vous. Plus vous en saurez sur leurs professeurs, mieux ce sera. Généralement, les professeurs les mieux payés font les meilleurs cours !
Tout est dit. Ce que tous les étudiants désirent c’est une école bien située, accueillante et professionnelle où apprendre l’anglais. Dans votre recherche d’école, ne sélectionnez que les meilleures. Si vous avez besoin de plus d’informations sur ce sujet, merci de bien vouloir vous adresser à john@englishour.ie
Bonne chance dans vos recherches !

¿Hay escuelas de inglés buenas pero baratas?

Como saber si una academia de ingles barata es buena y ofrece calidad?

A veces, cuando queremos elegir una academia de ingles hay tanta variedad de escuelas que nos resulta difícil elegir la correcta.

Solo en la zona metropolitana de Dublin hay mas de 100 academias de inglés. Cada una ofreciendo una gran variedad de precios y muy variadas con respecto a la calidad que ofrecen relacionada con su precio.

Sabemos exactamente lo que nos podemos gastar (lo que hace excluir a las más caras), pero ¿cómo sabemos si la escuela que elegimos es buena?

Leer las opiniones

Aprovecha la experiencia de otros estudiantes para hacerte una idea de la escuela que están considerando.

La gente tiende a colgar sus opiniones cuando están muy satisfechos con la escuela, así que es importante leer las opiniones de otros estudiantes. Normalmente cuando hay opiniones negativas sobre el mismo tópico y de forma repetida tiende a ser verdad.

Busca los comentarios sobre los profesores y sobre cómo se trata a los estudiantes por la administración de la escuela.

Si la administración de la escuela no trata bien a los estudiantes lo mejor es no elegir esta escuela barata.

Por el contrario, las opiniones positivas de la escuela y sus profesores te ayudaran a reducir el mínimo de escuelas que son ideales para ti.

Busca el “idioma”

Escuelas de inglés, son exactamente eso, escuelas que se dedican a la enseñanza de idioma.

Busca pistas en las que se vea que en esa escuela están apasionados por la lengua y no sea solo negocios de hacer dinero.

Mira sus paginas web. ¿Tienen escritos material original sobre la lengua? Mira sus paginas en redes sociales y observa si tienen contenido sobre cuestiones como el idioma o sus paginas tienen solamente un objetivo para anunciarse para venderse a un gran número de estudiantes.

Hay escuelas que les importa de verdad ensenar Ingles. Encuéntralas y decide.

Mira el tamaño de la escuela

Las escuelas de ingles normalmente se fundan con las mejores intenciones. Al principio de su creación les importa cada uno de sus estudiantes, pero cuando triunfan, los estudiantes en vez de personas se convierten en números

Los profesores que al principio trabajaban en una organización la cual velaba por sus intereses y podían innovadoras dentro de la enseñanza al cambiar la escuela de tamaño solo pasan a ser piñones en un gran engranaje y al final son los estudiantes que pagan las consecuencias de este crecimiento. No quiero decir que todas las escuelas grandes o que crezcan sean malas, pero algunas sí. Encuentra una escuela que te apoye individualmente y que su estructura sea de tu agrado.

 

Reconocimiento.

En Irlanda hay marcas de calidad que garantizan niveles mínimos de calidad en las escuelas.

Al ser parte de este sistema las escuelas son frecuentemente visitadas por inspectores independientes que investigan si las escuelas ofrecen a sus estudiantes lo que anuncian ofrecer, en su aspecto académico y administrativo

Busca escuelas reconocidas y dentro del marco ACELS o MEI. Puedes encontrarlas aquí pinchando aquí.

Profesores

El profesorado es lo más importante a la hora de elegir tu escuela ya que durante tu curso es la persona principal que tendrá contacto diario.

Un buen profesor te guiara a través de la lengua y un gran profesor te inspirara el resto de tu vida.

Cuando contactes con una escuela, pregunta tanto como quieras. ¿Con respecto a los profesores hay dos preguntas esenciales, Son tus profesores nativos?

¿Cuál es la experiencia combinada de tus profesores? La forma en que te respondan te dará una idea de cómo aprenderán y te trataran si decides elegir esa escuela barata.

Contra mas sepas de los profesores mejor será.

¡Los profesores bien pagados como su profesión corresponden que serán más felices y sus clases serán las mejores!

Lo que cada estudiante le gusta es una escuela bien ubicada, una escuela profesional y de trato amable, la cual te ensenara ingles adaptándose a tus necesidades. En la búsqueda de la escuela barata perfecta, considera los puntos anteriores y te deseamos buena suerte.

Si necesitas más información, no dudes en contactar conmigo john@englishour.ie

‘Switching’©: From the formal to the informal.

When communicating through English, there will always be options presenting the speaker with a language choice. In this blog, we will show you ‘Switching’, a technique which will open up the range of language choices available to you.

In English, the language choice of the speaker will be either in a formal style or an informal style or perhaps somewhere in between and the formal style is often a direct translation from the learner’s language:

I told Peter everything he needed to know

The informal style will not be a direct translation but could rather be a PHRASAL VERB:

I filled Peter in.

In Englishour, we believe that learners today who come to an English speaking country to learn English want to become familiar with the informal side of English. To them, it’s new and exciting and is often something they have never come across before.

As well as opening up exciting new learning opportunities, there are clear advantages to making these language choices. Firstly,  the informal side of English is often much shorter; more concise. English speakers love this! When non-native speakers use idiomatic language, English speakers really appreciate this and the door to a deeper communication is opened a little more. The journey from formal (translation) to the informal is something I call ‘switching’.

Switching is moving between the formal and informal. It is moving away from direct translation towards metaphor and image-based language.

Here are some examples:

A journalist, Peter Factotum, is talking about a corrupt director of a company who he suspects is destroying the environment illegally. In telling us about the director and his experiences he has used several phrasal verbs giving us information:

He has to answer to the shareholders

He tried to play down his role in the forest’s destruction

I tried to sound him out to see if he would reveal anything

He let it slip (it slipped out) that his company was responsible

He left out the fact that he had been in prison

I can’t wait to fill in my editor

Now lets understand!

  • To answer to someone – To whom do you answer to? Do you have anyone to answer to?

If you have a boss, then the answer is yes!

If you have parents, then the answer is yes!

You answer to the person who is responsible for you. The person to whom you answer to is the person to whom you have to justify your actions. People, who are self-employed have nobody to answer to (except perhaps themselves). Single people have nobody to answer to. Do politicians have anybody to answer to? Of course! The electorate. So who do you have to answer to?

  • To play an action/a fact down – This means that you try to make it seem less important than it really is. People often play things down because they are modest. For example, if I won a gold medal in the Olympics and I say ‘Oh it’s nothing’, then I am trying to play down the medal. In the case above however, the director is trying to play down something negative, saying it has no importance when actually, it does!

Politicians often try to play down their mistakes and play up their successes!

  • To sound someone out – This is where you get a ‘preview’ to see how someone feels about an issue. You may feel that is too early to ask them directly, so you ‘sound them out’ first to get an idea how the reaction might be. For example, if you want to ask your boss for a raise you don’t ask directly ‘can I have a raise?’ Instead, you sound them out by talking about money in general and getting a feel for what they might think. Then you may or may not ask for the raise.

Therefore the idea of ‘sounding someone out’ is the idea of talking loosely about something to gauge their reaction.

  • To let it slip – The phrasal verb is to slip out, but let it slip sounds better so we will use that form. This one is easy. It means that you told a secret accidentally. You opened your big mouth and said something to someone that you shouldn’t have! Perhaps you let it slip that he was hiding in the next room or that Mary’s surprise birthday is on Saturday. Basically, you let the cat out of the bag! Have you ever let something slip? Was it something important? What did you do?
  • To leave out (a fact) – If you leave out a fact, you don’t say it. It’s that simple. I told the police my name and address but I left out the fact that I’m not staying there. Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s what you leave out. Think about your CV. Did you write EVERYTHING or did you leave out a few things? Be honest!
  • To fill someone in on something – This means to give someone the necessary information about a situation. It basically means ‘tell them everything’. For example, if you go on holidays, when you arrive back in work/school, your colleague will fill you in on what has been happening and all the gossip. When Steven fills in his editor, he will tell her everything about the story he has. Look again at the original sentence at the top:

I told Peter about the project.

 So with switching, we try to replace the formal with the idiomatic:

I filled Peter in about the project.

‘Switching’ is being able to manipulate language

Now, let’s add some more verbs that you can ‘switch’:

When Peter Factotum fills his editor in about the story she will either think that it is a good story or a bad story. If she thinks it is bad, then Peter will have to persuade her that he should write it.

He will have to talk her into letting him write it.

 When you were a teenager you had to talk your parents into letting you do things. Like what?

You can also talk someone out of doing something.

He wanted to sell the house but we talked him out of it. – We dissuaded him!

 

If there was a situation where several journalists wanted to write the story:

Peter would pitch for the story

 The idea of ‘a pitch’ is important in English. People pitch ideas to others in order to sell a product or get support.

We pitched the idea of an environmentally-friendly car to the managers and they loved it!

 

When there is competition to ‘win’ an account, for example, you pitch for it.

Every advertising agency in the city pitched for the McDonalds account.

In this case however, it is unlikely that Peter would have to pitch for the story as:

He came up with it.

He thought of it. It is his story.

Switching

Formal            ➙       Informal

Informal         ➙       Formal

The context will decide which option you use.

It’s up to you – You choose!

Literal translation (formal)Native equivalent (informal)
He is responsible to nobody

 

He answers to nobody
He made the situation seem less important

 

He played down the situation
I tried to get an idea of what she was thinking

 

I sounded her out
He accidentally said it

 

He let it slip
I omitted it

 

I left it out
He told me everything

 

He filled me in
I persuaded her to do it

 

I talked her into doing it
I dissuaded him from doing it

 

I talked him out of doing it
We gave a presentation to get the job

 

We pitched for the job
He thought of a great idea

 

He came up with a great idea
You decide

 

It’s up to you

 

Tasks:

Look at the following sentences. You will see the long formal version. Translate to the shorter informal version by switching:

Eg: He told me accidentally____________He let it slip.

  1. I asked him questions to see what he was thinking_➙
  2. He persuaded me to sell my car to him__➙
  3. We presented hoping to attract the new client__➙
  4. I told them that the situation was not as bad as they believed__➙
  5. Her only boss is the owner, nobody else_➙

 

Now try to do the opposite. Look at the informal and make it formal:

Eg: I left out the fact that I was unavailable___➙_____I failed to say that I was unavailable.

  1. He came up with a brilliant plan__➙
  2. They played down the disaster in the interview_➙
  3. She talked me out of selling_➙
  4. I let it slip that he wasn’t qualified_➙
  5. They pitched for the Medford account_➙

Further tasks:

  • Start using switching in your everyday life. Every time you want to say something, try to think of two ways to say the same thing and make a language CHOICE.
  • In your professional life, try to use all of the above verbs in the next week.
  • In your personal life, try to use 5 of the above verbs in the next week.
  • Write a list of ten situations you know you will be in, in the next 7 days. Identify if they are formal or informal situations. Which side of the English language would you prefer to be using in each? When going to each, make decisions about the language choices that you will make before the event and then follow them!
  • Show your colleagues the two versions and ask them which they use. Try to talk about language to as many people as possible.
  • Keep switching. Learn to manipulate language so that you sound like you WANT to sound!

By John Ryan  ©2018