Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Spoken English

When asking for directions, you can use the following phrases:
  • Excuse me, where is … ?
  • Excuse me, how can I get to… ?
  • Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to… ?

These are useful phrases when you are giving directions:
  • Go straight
  • Turn left
  • Turn right
  • Walk along the post office
  • Take the first (street) on your left/right
  • Walk over the bridge
  • Stop at the crossroads
  • At the traffic light turn left/right

Asking and giving directions

Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to ...?

the bus station

Excuse me, do you know where the ... is?

post office

I'm sorry, I don't know

sorry, I'm not from around here

I'm looking for ...

this address

Are we on the right road for ...?


Is this the right way for ...?


Do you have a map?

Can you show me on the map?

Giving directions

it's this way

it's that way

you're going the wrong way

you're going in the wrong direction

take this road

go down there

take the first on the left

take the second on the right

turn right at the crossroads

continue straight ahead for about a mile (one mile is approximately 1.6 kilometres)

continue past the fire station

you'll pass a supermarket on your left

keep going for another ...

hundred yards (about 91 metres)

two hundred metres

half mile (about 800 metres)


it'll be ...

on your left

on your right

straight ahead of you

How far is it?

how far is it?

how far is it to ...?

the airport

how far is it to ... from here?

the beach

is it far?

is it a long way?

it's ...

not far

quite close

quite a long way

a long way on foot

a long way to walk

about a mile from here (one mile is approximately 1.6 kilometres)

Giving directions to drivers

follow the signs for ...

the town centre


continue straight on past some traffic lights

at the second set of traffic lights, turn left

go over the roundabout

take the second exit at the roundabout

turn right at the T-junction

go under the bridge

go over the bridge

you'll cross some railway lines


Conversation Questions

Ø  Are foreign languages part of the curriculum of our country? If so, which languages?
Ø  Are there good colleges in our country? Can you name some of them?
Ø  Are women encouraged to pursue education?
Ø  Do you know anyone who does not know how to read or write?
Ø  Do you think teachers are paid enough in Bangladesh?
Ø  Do you think your school is/was a good one? Why/why not?
Ø  Do you think your teachers give too much homework?
Ø  Why English is hard to learn at university level?
Ø  How do you travel to school?
Ø  What are some good ways to learn English?
Ø  What are the qualities of a good student?
Ø  What are the qualities of a good teacher?
Ø  What do you study? What's your major?
Ø  What was (or is) your favorite subject? Why do you like it?
Ø  Why do you think people become teachers?
Ø  Would you consider studying abroad?
Ø  How much free time does a high school student in our country have?
Ø  Do you think that most parents influence what university their child will attend?
Ø  Once you graduate from a university should you stop learning?
o   What are some ways a person can continue to learn?
Ø  Does education guarantee a good job?
Ø  Which high schools and colleges are the best in our country?
Ø  Do elite universities help or harm your country?
Ø  Why do students cheat during tests and exams?
Ø  How do they cheat?
Ø  What is your attitude towards cheating?
Ø  What are the dangers of cheating?
Ø  What skills separate good students from bad students?
Ø  Do you think a person can become a genius, or are they just born that way?

Activity: Ask your partner the following questions and listen to him/her. If you differ from the answers given by your partner, show your logic.

Ø  What do you see in the above picture?
Ø  Is it a scene of acting or of reality?
Ø  What might be the cause of beating the person tied with the pole?
Ø  Is the person beating hard?
Ø  With what he is beating?
Ø  If you were the person beaten in the picture above, what would be your feeling?
Ø  Do you think it is inhuman to beat one like this?
Ø  Should the person beaten be sent to the police?
Ø  If you see this scene anywhere, what would be your responsibility?

How is the weather today?
Instructions: Use these words to talk about today’s weather. From the following words, you will ask a question and your partner will answer to that question.
You                        : It’s hot today. OR, Isn’t it hot today?
Your Partner      : Oh yes, it is. /I don’t think so.

You                        :_______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________

You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________

You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________
You                        : _______________________________________
Your Partner      : _______________________________________

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


A kindergarten teacher has decided to let her class play a game.

The teacher told each child in the class to bring along a plastic bag containing a few potatoes.

Each potato will be given a name of a person that the child hates,

So the number of potatoes that a child will put in his/her plastic bag will depend on the number of people he/she hates.

So when the day came, every child brought some potatoes with the name of the people he/she hated. Some had 2 potatoes; some 3 while some up to 5 potatoes. The teacher then told the children to carry with them the potatoes in the plastic bag wherever they go (even to the toilet) for 1 week.

Days after days passed by, and the children started to complain due to the unpleasant smell let out by the rotten potatoes. Besides, those having 5 potatoes also had to carry heavier bags. After 1 week, the children were relieved because the game had finally ended....

The teacher asked: "How did you feel while carrying the potatoes with you for 1 week?" The children let out their frustrations and started complaining of the trouble that they had to go through having to carry the heavy and smelly potatoes wherever they go.

Then the teacher told them the hidden meaning behind the game. The teacher said: "This is exactly the situation when you carry your hatred for somebody inside your heart. The stench of hatred will contaminate your heart and you will carry it with you wherever you go. If you cannot tolerate the smell of rotten potatoes for just 1 week, can you imagine what is it like to have the stench of hatred in your heart for your lifetime???"

Moral of the story: Throw away any hatred for anyone from your heart so that you will not carry sins for a lifetime. Forgiving others is the best attitude to take!

True love is not loving a perfect person but loving an imperfect person perfectly

A Good Story... Daughter and Dad

A father passing by his teenage daughter's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was nicely made and everything was neat and tidy. Then he saw an envelope propped up prominently on the centre of the pillow. It was addressed "Dad". With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope and read the letter with trembling hands:-

Dear Dad,
It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you, but I'm leaving home. I had to elope with my new boyfriend Randy because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you. I've been finding real passion with Randy and he is so nice to me. I know when you meet him you'll like him too - even with all his piercing, tattoos, and motorcycle clothes. But it's not only the passion Dad, I'm pregnant and Randy said that he wants me to have the kid and that we can be very happy together. Even though Randy is much older than me (anyway, 42 isn't so old these days is it?), and has no money, really these things shouldn't stand in the way of our relationship, don't you agree? Randy has a great CD collection; he already owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. It's true he has other girlfriends as well but I know he'll be faithful to me in his own way. He wants to have many more children with me and that's now one of my dreams too. Randy taught me that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone and he'll be growing it for us and we'll trade it with our friends for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Randy can get better; he sure deserves it!! Don't worry Dad, I'm 15 years old now and I know how to
take care of myself. Someday I'm sure we'll be back to visit so you can get to know your grandchildren.
Your loving daughter,

At the bottom of the page were the letters
Hands still trembling, her father turned the sheet, and read.
PS: Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at the neighbor’s house.
I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than my
report card that's in my desk centre drawer Please sign it and call
when it is safe for me to come home. I love you.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

MCAT Training Camp: Day 1

From Khan Academy’s Rishi Desai, MD:
Today is July 15, 2013.  It’s the first day of the MCAT training camp, and it’s also my 32nd birthday.  What a great way to get things started. 
Our kick-off meeting with all of the video-makers was this morning at 7am.  Folks trickled in over 15 minutes and the group was generally quiet, since they were still strangers to one another.   We began with simple introductions (name, home institution, etc…). 
Pat, medical student, Columbia
Shreena, CAM student, Georgetown
Will, teacher, Teach for America
As we went around the circle, body language started to change and smiles started to emerge.  Everyone relaxed and we took our first step towards getting to know each other.  I went through the project background, our collaboration with the AAMC and RWJF, and our plans going forward.  We discussed goals and expectations for the week, as well as some basics tips/tricks for making compelling videos.  People seemed comfortable with the plan for the day, which was primarily to prepare 1-2 new videos. 
I planned to meet with everyone individually for 30 minutes, so that meant ~7 hours of 1-on-1 meetings.  The first one was with Pat, and it rolled on from there…  Over the course of the day, I had all sorts of interesting conversations.  Topics ranged from outlining goals for the week, to philosophical conversations about the role of Khan Academy in the education space.  However, the most interesting thing was what I noticed happening outside of my 1-on-1’s.  All of a sudden books and reference materials were being shared, dropbox folders being set up, and discussions about video editing were happening organically.  Through encounters in the hallway and on HipChat, these inspired video-makers were rapidly helping each other improve. 
The highlight of the day was lunch.  Each person had a partner with whom they had to give and receive feedback on their most recent videos.  The vibe was amazing!  They were giving one another the most incredible, detailed, and thought-provoking feedback.  Was the pace too slow and going to cause the viewer to “get bored and fade away” or was it too fast and at risk for “creating good entertainment, but not necessarily good education?”  Was the scope going “too shallow and not really addressing the ‘why’ question” or was it too deep and getting “lost in the weeds?”  For two hours there was a healthy exchange.  The ideas ran deep and the video-makers were looking to do something much more profound then simply put together a set of facts – they wanted to create an optimal learning experience.  To have a passionate teacher is terrific, to have over a dozen of them bubbling with enthusiasm and ideas was a phenomenon! 
Having these video-makers come from far and wide to mingle and cross-pollinate ideas was the greatest gift I could have asked for from them on my birthday.
That was Day 1.

Saturday, 13 July 2013


Across is used as a preposition and as an adverb:
 It’s just not enough time to get across London.
[giving directions]
 A:  You keep going down until you get to the massive traffic-light complex. You know you’re at it. It’s sort of bright and there’s a big main road running across.
B:   Right.

  Across is not a verb. The verb form is cross:
 Every time you cross the road, you’re worried you’re going to get knocked over.
(Every time you across the road, you’re worried you’re going to get knocked over.)

Across can be used to indicate movement or position relative to two sides or extremes of something:
[referring to a newspaper article]
 In the paper there’s somebody who’s going to swim across the Atlantic four thousand miles.
 She sat facing me across the table.

When indicating position relative to another person or thing, with the meaning of ‘opposite’, ‘on the other side of the road to’, across is used with from:
 The Town Hall is across from the cathedral.

Across is often used in contexts of comparisons to indicate a range of something:
 The researchers carried out a study across 20 countries.

Across is also used to refer to the width or diagonal measurement of something. It follows the unit of measurement:
 First, a copy; he slipped a minidisk into the port, formatted and labelled it. Barely two centimetres across – easy to lose, but easy to hide.

Across is also used to refer to an area in which things are distributed:

 There are other smaller sites, scattered across the Caribbean and even in the Mediterranean.

According to

The most frequent use of according to is when reference is made to external evidence to support a statement or an opinion:
 According to the safety experts, it was all right when they left it.
 It’s the same in every block, according to Cliff, the caretaker.
 This delay, according to Mr Mckay, probably violated federal law.
 It’s going to be delayed, according to what Nick told us.

According to is frequently used to refer to statistics, official reports, surveys, opinion polls, studies, research, etc., especially in more formal contexts:
 According to a recent report by the National Food Alliance, children are being saturated with advertisements for sugar-rich confectionery.
 And regional government, according to a poll taken last month by Gallup, attracts the support of less than one in three of the public.

  Note that according to refers to evidence from someone or somewhere else. As such, it usually has a third person referent. It cannot be used to refer to one’s own views or statements:
 In my opinion all those sites should be made green-field sites.
(According to me/according to my opinion, all those sites should be …)


Prepositions – Time
  • on
  • days of the week
  • on Monday
  • in
  • months / seasons
  • time of day
  • year
  • after a certain period of time (when?)
  • in August / in winter
  • in the morning
  • in 2006
  • in an hour
  • at
  • for night
  • for weekend
  • a certain point of time (when?)
  • at night
  • at the weekend
  • at half past nine
  • since
  • from a certain point of time (past till now)
  • since 1980
  • for
  • over a certain period of time (past till now)
  • for 2 years
  • ago
  • a certain time in the past
  • 2 years ago
  • before
  • earlier than a certain point of time
  • before 2004
  • to
  • telling the time
  • ten to six (5:50)
  • past
  • telling the time
  • ten past six (6:10)
  • to / till / until
  • marking the beginning and end of a period of time
  • from Monday to/till Friday
  • till / until
  • in the sense of how long something is going to last
  • He is on holiday until Friday.
  • by
  • in the sense of at the latest
  • up to a certain time
  • I will be back by 6 o’clock.
  • By 11 o'clock, I had read five pages.

Prepositions – Place (Position and Direction)
  • in
  • room, building, street, town, country
  • book, paper etc.
  • car, taxi
  • picture, world
  • in the kitchen, in London
  • in the book
  • in the car, in a taxi
  • in the picture, in the world
  • at
  • meaning next to, by an object
  • for table
  • for events
  • place where you are to do something typical (watch a film, study, work)
  • at the door, at the station
  • at the table
  • at a concert, at the party
  • at the cinema, at school, at work
  • on
  • attached
  • for a place with a river
  • being on a surface
  • for a certain side (left, right)
  • for a floor in a house
  • for public transport
  • for television, radio
  • the picture on the wall
  • London lies on the Thames.
  • on the table
  • on the left
  • on the first floor
  • on the bus, on a plane
  • on TV, on the radio
  • by, next to, beside
  • left or right of somebody or something
  • Jane is standing by / next to / beside the car.
  • under
  • on the ground, lower than (or covered by) something else
  • the bag is under the table
  • below
  • lower than something else but above ground
  • the fish are below the surface
  • over
  • covered by something else
  • meaning more than
  • getting to the other side (also across)
  • overcoming an obstacle
  • put a jacket over your shirt
  • over 16 years of age
  • walk over the bridge
  • climb over the wall
  • above
  • higher than something else, but not directly over it
  • a path above the lake
  • across
  • getting to the other side (also over)
  • getting to the other side
  • walk across the bridge
  • swim across the lake
  • through
  • something with limits on top, bottom and the sides
  • drive through the tunnel
  • to
  • movement to person or building
  • movement to a place or country
  • for bed
  • go to the cinema
  • go to London / Ireland
  • go to bed
  • into
  • enter a room / a building
  • go into the kitchen / the house
  • towards
  • movement in the direction of something (but not directly to it)
  • go 5 steps towards the house
  • onto
  • movement to the top of something
  • jump onto the table
  • from
  • in the sense of where from
  • a flower from the garden
Other important Prepositions
  • from
  • who gave it
  • a present from Jane
  • of
  • who/what does it belong to
  • what does it show
  • a page of the book
  • the picture of a palace
  • by
  • who made it
  • a book by Mark Twain
  • on
  • walking or riding on horseback
  • entering a public transport vehicle
  • on foot, on horseback
  • get on the bus
  • in
  • entering a car  / Taxi
  • get in the car
  • off
  • leaving a public transport vehicle
  • get off the train
  • out of
  • leaving a car  / Taxi
  • get out of the taxi
  • by
  • rise or fall of something
  • travelling (other than walking or horseriding)
  • prices have risen by 10 percent
  • by car, by bus
  • at
  • for age
  • she learned Russian at 45
  • about
  • for topics, meaning what about
  • we were talking about you

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