Reading in English

Paper 1 is certainly the most tiring paper of all. Although Paper 4 requires a greater amount of concentration, paper 1 involves the use of strategies we have long forgotten. Using these strategies not only makes it easier to read but also faster. We might use them in everyday tasks but little are we aware of them. So here are a few things we can do to save time and score high on paper 1:

a) Quickly read the text to find out what it's about;
b) take a look at the questions and go back to the text to find the answers to them;
c) when you find a passage that (probably) contains the answer, underline it;
d) look at the options and rule out any improbable answer;
e) remember that all the options may be present in the text but only one addresses the question;
f) don't choose a definite answer right now; move on to the next question. Maybe you'll find the answer to previous questions while you're looking for something else;
g) but focus on one or two questions at a time as you might easily mix up the questions if you're too tense (and it's likely to be the case)!

Think about this!
See you on Monday!


How do we break words between syllables in English?

Don't you sometimes wonder why you have never been taught to break words in your English lessons? Basically it's because the rules are different in English and don't follow a pattern like in Portuguese. In some cases we might break a word between syllables just like we do in Portuguese (but again, syllables don't always follow the same pattern!)

Ex: napkin (nap-kin)

cabin (cab-in)-- you see what I mean? (in this case the first vowel is short, so you should break it after the consonant!)

mistake (mis-take) and not mis-ta-ke as we would probably break in Portuguese.

To make matters worse, we should hyphenate between prefix and root or between root and suffix:

antecedent (ante-cedent)
introduce (intro-duce)
lemonade (lemon-ade)

An -ing may be carried over to the next line:

dancing (danc-ing)

But -al, -ly and -ed endings should not be carried over to the next line:

merged (not: merg-ed)

You can hyphenate self-satisfied, but you can't hyphenate selfless (self-less is wrong).

For the reasons stated above, not many people care to learn the rules; they simply consult a dictionary for syllabication (yeah! That's what it's called!)

Hope it has been useful!
See you soon!

The Apostrophe!

The apostrophe (') has three general uses:
To indicate:

A) Possessive case of singular and plural nouns that don't end in s:

The boy's bike; the men's wives; the mice's ears

(note that even though men and mice are plural nouns, they do not end in s!)

B) Possessive case of singular nouns ending in s; in that case it's optional:

James's car; Charles's son; Burns' poetry
James' car; Charles' son; Burns' poetry

C) Possessive case of indefinite pronouns:

anybody's idea; everybody's problem; someone's car

D) An apostrophe without an s is added to form the possessive of plural nouns that end in s. Most plural nouns, of course, fit into this category.

babies' clothing; boys' teachers; doctors' patients

E) It also indicates the omission of letters or figures:

I've; can't, '48(1948); the class of '99 (1999)

F) It indicates the plural of letters and figures:

Let's begin with the B's.

Don't ever use the apostrophe to indicate plural!!!!

Wrong usage: The girl's are having English class.
Correct usage: The girls are having class.